The mayor of Holyoke Massachusetts has made the first major appointment
of his new administration. Mayor Alex Morse, Wednesday, appointed a new
director of economic development. WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief
Paul Tuthill reports.
Mayor Morse has hired Marcos Marrero, a young urban planner and
policy professional with experience in energy and sustainability
projects to implement the young mayor's vision for revitalizing one of
the state's poorest cities.
Holyoke's new planning and economic development director has
been on the staff of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission for the last
year. He was chief of staff in the Energy Policy Office of the New York
City Economic Development Corporation. He was a deputy advisor to the
Governor of Puerto Rico on energy and climate change.
Morse said Marrero, who has 8 years of professional experience
stood out among the two dozen applicants for the key job.
When he became mayor Morse opted to retain most department
heads. Just 8 weeks into the new administration, Kathleen Anderson, who
had been economic development director for 13 years, resigned to become
president of the local chamber of commerce.
Marrero said he shares Mayor Morse's vision of Holyoke as a
creative economy capital for the region, taking a lead in arts,
innovation, and technology.
Holyoke has pinned much of its future economic hopes on a $168
million high performance computing center. The state of the art facility
that is being built by a group of top research universities, including
M-I-T and Harvard, and high tech industry giants such as EMC and Cisco,
is on schedule to be finished by the end of the year.
A task force has been working for several years on ways to use
the computing center to attract new business to downtown Holyoke, which
has many abandoned old brick mill buildings.
Marrero said he plans to work to retain businesses and attract
new ones by cutting red tape.
Marrero said he shares Mayor Morse's opposition to a casino in
Holyoke. Hard Rock International and a local group, proposed a casino
on what is now a golf course, but Morse has refused even to discuss the
plan with the developers who are now looking at other sites in western