From The Republican
Thursday, January 03, 2008
By Fred Contrada
If all goes according to plan, 2008 will leave Northampton looking markedly different than it looked on Jan. 1.
A number of major construction projects will change the face of downtown Northampton and nearby Hospital Hill. The latter, which in recent years has been used mostly for sledding, will take a giant step toward begin turned it into a village with businesses and residents of all income levels.
Once the city’s biggest employer, Northampton State Hospital was a village of sorts in its heyday, with its own farm, bowling alley and beauty parlor. Since the Department of Mental Health began relocating patients into the community in the early 1990s, the city has dreamed of turning the site into a new kind of village.