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The City of Chicopee is located near the junction of the Massachusetts Turnpike and Interstate 91 and is a diverse urban community which serves as the home of Westover Air Force Base. The city has mined its industrial past for present uses, having transformed a number of 19th century industrial buildings and locations into mixed modern uses. An example of this is the sprawling complex of 19th century brick buildings known as Cabotville Industrial Park, which has housed a variety of small and medium-sized industries for the past 50 years. The city is particularly well served for transportation, boasting two airports, the Boston and Main Railroad and regular long distance as well as local bus service. This supports a strong industrial base which manufactures sporting goods, textiles, beverages, paper, office supplies and the eastern edition of the Wall Street Journal. Westover Air Force Base is a key part of the local economy, employing about 1,000 local residents and housing 2,500 reservists of the 439th Military Airlift Wing. The base was the staging area for American troops during the Persian Gulf war. Recycled former military housing from the base serves as the nucleus of a planned development that will include both market rate and affordable housing. An historic district in Chicopee Center encompasses stately homes from the city's past and an historic shad run on the Connecticut and Chicopee Rivers brings thousands of enthusiastic fisherman to the city each spring. Each fall, one of the largest Polish celebrations in the United States takes place in Chicopee when 75,000 visitors come to feast on kielbasa and dance the polka, while biannually the Great New England Air Show brings upwards of 700,000 people to Westover for a three-day air extravaganza. Chicopee residents feel their city's history is a living tie to the present, echoing the diversity of population, the welcome to immigrants, the production of fine industrial products and the pride that was present at the city's incorporation and is present now. (Seal supplied by community. Narrative based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission)
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