Westover ARB added nearly $200M to local economy in 2016

Westover lost eight C-5 Galaxy aircraft in the past year.

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Westover Air Reserve Base pumped $197-million into the local economy during fiscal year 2016, totaling about $24-million less than the year prior.

The 439th Airlift Wing’s impact reached communities within a 50-mile radius of the base. The total economic impact is broken down into payroll, construction, services, materials, supplies and equipment.

According to a release sent to 22News from Westover Public Affairs, factors contributing to the decrease in economic impact include a decrease in construction and related expenditures, the loss of eight C-5 Galaxy aircraft, a change in base contractors, and a decrease in payroll.

“Despite declining military budgets, we’re glad to see that Westover’s joint-base operations continue to provide a powerful economic engine for western Massachusetts,” said Col. Jay Jensen, the 439th AW commander.

Dan McCarthy, Westover’s cost and management analyst, said the value of estimated jobs increased by about $1.2-million, as a result of the number of reservists placed on active duty. This number is derived from a federal formula that calculates goods and services off base which members purchase.

Gene McGreevy of Aurora’s Pizzeria down the street of the base said the loss in revenue hasn’t affected them. “We get business from the base. They come in every day and we deliver it to the base, so it seems like it’s still kind of normal to us.”

The impact does not include the base’s Army and Marine units which employ 1,680 people. McGreevy said they don’t anticipate the loss affecting business going into the New Year.

Previous years’ economic impact:

  • 2014 – $220,856,889
  • 2013 – $224,946,752
  • 2012 – $237,936,751
  • 2011 – $237,568,913