hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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May 7, 2009

Haverhill basks in 'bio-ready' label

Biotechnology companies need not look to Cambridge — or even Andover — for new homes for their businesses.

That is the message Mayor James Fiorentini and Greater Haverhill Chamber President James Jajuga are spreading after the city received a "platinum" rating from the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. It is the organization's top rating, meaning a community is ready to welcome biotech businesses.

"We intend to use this rating to help market our city to biotechnology firms," Fiorentini said.

In giving Haverhill the highest rating — shared with only 43 other comunities in the state — the council noted the city's well-educated work force, educational system, new high school science labs, business climate, governement efficiency and expedited permitting, low tax rate and quality of life.

"Not only did we work hard for this rating, but several key indicators were cited that we are very proud of," Fiorentini said.

Biotech firms want to be in attractive locales where they are welcomed, supported and where their employees want to live, shop and eat, he said.

"We have all that here in Haverhill," Fiorentini said.

Jajuga said the bio-ready label helps Haverhill in two ways. In the short term, it is affirmation that Haverhill is open for business and ready to work with different business sectors to bring good jobs and additional tax revenue to the city, he said.

In the long term, it means the city becomes one of the top communities in the state, he said.

"Getting this platinum award means we not only met every criteria but we are at the top of communities' abilities for a number of things. First we have accessibility, affordability, the work force, and city government and business leaders in general willing to work together for the betterment of the city of Haverhill, which will be beneficial for entire region," Jajuga said.

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