WESTFIELD – City Advancement Officer Joseph Mitchell has announced that he will be leaving the City of Westfield’s employ later this month after nine years of service, when he will be joining Eversource as a community relations and economic development specialist serving 40 communities in Western Massachusetts. Mitchell said in the new position he will serve as a liaison between Eversource and the customers, especially as it relates to strategic projects.
“Per City ordinance, the City Advancement officer serves a 2 year term concurrent with the Mayor. It is definitely with mixed emotions that I tendered my letter of resignation to Mayor Brian Sullivan a short time ago. However, like the Mayor, I am looking forward to the challenges this next chapter in my life may bring,” Mitchell said, adding that even though the next mayor could decide to rehire him, this opportunity presented itself.
“The city as a whole, but me personally, will be losing a very hard-working individual who has done tremendous work in moving many city projects forward,” said Mayor Sullivan on Monday. “Joe has made his name and the city’s name well-known throughout the Baker-Polito administration, and it shows by the grants and the financial services we have received over the last three and a half years of my administration,” he added.
Mitchell first joined the city in 2010 when then Mayor Daniel Knapik appointed him to the Airport Commission, which he later served as Chairman. Later in 2010, Knapik hired him as the Veteran’s Services officer. Mitchell served in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he received a degree in electrical engineering in 1987. He then served on active duty in the Air Force from 1988 to 1995, leaving as a captain and combat-decorated aviator from action in Desert Storm.
Mitchell also serves on the Aviation Advisory Board for the Aviation Maintenance shop at Westfield Technical Academy.
In March 2014, Knapik hired Mitchell as City Advancement Officer. He was rehired in the same position by Mayor Brian P. Sullivan in 2016.
Mitchell pointed to several of his accomplishments as City Advancement Officer, including the $6.6 million PVTA Bus Transit Facility that he said almost didn’t happen due to federal funding issues.
He has also worked tirelessly with the Westfield Redevelopment Authority on the Urban Renewal Project in the Elm Street corridor, advancing the purchase of the land and the bowling alley to make way for a new mixed-use building. A Request for Proposal (RFP) for that project is expected to go out in the next month or two. Another big project Mitchell has advanced is the Turnpike Industrial Park, for which he is working on the final environmental report, and expects certification from the Mass. Environmental Protection Agency to be issued shortly thereafter. Last week, the City received notice of another $150,000 grant from the state to continue the work at the Turnpike Industrial Park. This brings the City’s total up to $1.2 million after three successful rounds.
The project site is a 74.88-acre parcel with a potential tax revenue of $1.3 million a year, and with the potential for 1,100 jobs, and $120 million in private investment, according to Mitchell in previous statements.
Mitchell has also helped both mayors to facilitate new development and expand the existing operation of major business in the city, including James Hardie Building Supply, Prolamina, Tell Tool, Jarvis Surgical, Boise Cascade and Myers Information Systems, which is due to open at 110 Elm St. this spring. He has also helped to bring four large solar projects to Westfield.
Sullivan said he will need to find someone or some entity to help the city immediately with the Urban Renewal Project and the Turnpike Industrial Park, as well as other business at the Airport and throughout Westfield, in the wake of Mitchell’s departure.
“I respect Joe and support his career moves, and wish him nothing but the best,” Sullivan said.
“It has been my distinct privilege and pleasure to serve Mayor Sullivan, Mayor Knapik and the City of Westfield. I thoroughly enjoyed my job with the city, working with great people and taking on complex projects,” Mitchell said this week, adding, “I am very thankful for the friendship, encouragement and support the city employees and members of the community and city have shown me over the last nine years.”