Regional revitalization to be studied by local leaders
By Christine Smith
“Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies.” — John F. Kennedy
What Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella is hoping to accomplish in the region is still in its beginning stages, and getting $100,000 from the Massachusetts state budget to officially begin the process was a boost only recently learned about several weeks ago.
Mazzarella’s long-standing theory that the closing of the former Army base on Jackson Road off Route 2 and its redevelopment into the state-owned and privately run city known as Devens has affected the economic health of the surrounding cities and towns will finally get its test, and he hopes to gather leaders in the 22 cities and towns in the North Worcester Region together to study the results and formulate a response.
Nearly two years ago, Mazzarella began a campaign of sorts to gather the support for the effort not only of Leominster’s community leaders, but also those of other cities and towns in the area, among them Fitchburg, Gardner, Sterling, Lancaster, Winchendon, and even as far as Orange and Athol. With most expressing a willingness to join with him, said Mazzeralla, they had pushed for the state funding for a study on the impact from Devens in order to clearly define the scope of the actual issues and needs.