Before departure, Vedovelli reflects on city’s progress

5/11/2017 | Chris Maza

Category: May

Michael Vedovelli
Reminder Publications submitted photo

After two years with the city of Chicopee, Michael Vedovelli will leave his position as director of Community and Economic Development. Vacating his post on May 19, Vedovelli will take a position with Eversource.

Reflecting on his time with the city, Vedovelli said, “Chicopee was an exciting opportunity in which I was able to be a part of some very significant projects.”

He noted he appreciated the opportunity to work on both community and economic development aspects of government. While most municipalities separate the positions, Chicopee was able to meld the two, he said, thanks to his experience in community programming with the Community Development and Planning Department in Westfield and his previous work in the economic sector with the Massachusetts Office of Business Development.

“It’s kind of a unique situation with both community and economic development under the same umbrella, but given my experience, there was an opportunity to combine the two positions to help streamline the process and in discussions with the mayor, he showed he was very open to it,” Vedovelli said. “It really helps when you have a mayor who is open to new ideas.”

Mayor Richard Kos credited Vedovelli with bringing a special level of expertise and professionalism to the position which greatly benefited our city.”

Among the most significant of the city’s accomplishments during his tenure was the site selection for the new Mercedes Benz dealership at the former Plantation Inn site, a nearly $12 million development that broke ground in September 2016.

“It was an extremely competitive process,” Vedovelli explained. “This is not like a Honda dealership coming in. Mercedes only allows one license per region and it’s a huge region that includes Western Massachusetts all the way to the New York border and parts of Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont.”

He added, “It’s also significant because it allowed us to eliminate the Plantation Inn and now at the exit of the Mass Pike, one of the gateways into Chicopee, there will be an attractive, modern facility.”

The 100,000-square-foot expansion of US Tsubaki’s current operation in Chicopee was another coup for the city, Vedovelli said, pointing out that in beating out sites in Tennessee and Mexico, the city was able to build upon an existing strength.

“Manufacturing is a huge key multiplier,” he said. “The affect manufacturing has on a community is felt in so many different areas.”

Tax Increment Financing agreements were pivotal in both of these projects coming to fruition.

Vedovelli also lauded the city for its quick work in developing an agreement for a new solar field operated by Consolidated Edison Development Inc. (ConEd), which needed to be completed by January in order for the company to take advantage of state energy credits.

“We had a very short amount of time to get that done and there were a lot of different processes involved,” he said. “Now there’s a 21-acre solar development that was the result of a lot of good work and trust displayed between ConEd and the city.”

The ongoing work at the Facemate and Uniroyal site was presented “something different everyday,” according to Vedovelli, who at one time or another worked in tandem with the EPA, MassDEP, ConComm, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He stressed that when completed the rehabilitation of the site will be “transformative for the city.”

In addition to the razing and abatement of several buildings, Vedovelli said the city expects to soon select a developer after a Request for Proposals for the 3.9 acre Lot 4 parcel of the Facemate property.

He was also instrumental in Chicopee receiving the Green Community designation in 2016 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which included a $367,160 grant for green energy projects.

Under Vedovelli, the city unveiled a two-pronged approach to the revitalization of the downtown area. The first portion of the plan involved the creation of the West End Housing Development Incentive Zone, which incentivizes the development of affordable and market-rate housing in the neighborhood. Chicopee entered a Community Compact with the Baker-Polito Administration and to secure a $2.6 million Massworks Infrastructure Grant to help with the initiative. The second phase of the plan was the establishment of the Downtown Business Assistance Program, which was designed to provide financial support to business located in the recently approved West End Housing Development Incentive Zone seeking to make improvements.

The city posted an advertisement and job description seeking a new director of Economic Development on May 5. The advertised salary range for the position is $60,000 to $85,000.

A full description can be found at

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