DevelopSpringfield Announces Rebuild Springfield Progress Report
SPRINGFIELD — DevelopSpringfield hosted an event on May 29 to mark the two-year anniversary of the Rebuild Springfield Plan release and to commemorate the third anniversary of the June 1, 2011 tornado. City officials, volunteers, contributors, residents, and other stakeholders gathered on Central Street to hear remarks highlighting Rebuild Springfield Plan progress. Attendees were provided an opportunity to tour newly rebuilt homes in the severely tornado-damaged Central Street corridor. The Rebuild Springfield Plan is a city-wide master plan designed to provide a framework for addressing the redevelopment needs of neighborhoods impacted by the June 2011 tornado. Additionally, the plan serves as a guide for addressing a wide range of issues relevant to the city as a whole. DevelopSpringfield, in partnership with the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, facilitated the planning process, which included the input of city residents and stakeholders and was published in the spring of 2012. The recent gathering featured remarks by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; Jay Minkarah, president and CEO of DevelopSpringfield; Nick Fyntrilakis, DevelopSpringfield board chair and vice president of Community Responsibility for MassMutual Financial Group; Bishop Bruce Shaw, pastor of New Hope Pentecostal Church; Melvin Edwards, city councilor and Maple High/Six Corners Neighborhood Council president; Tim Allen, city councilor; Steven Bradley, DevelopSpringfield board member and vice president of Government and Community Relations and Public Relations for Baystate Health; Jose Claudio, DevelopSpringfield board member and director of Community Development for the New North Citizens’ Council and speaking on behalf of the North End Housing Initiative; and Alberto Ayala, speaking on behalf of VIVA Development. All of the speakers played a role in planning and rebuilding efforts in the city. They noted that the new homes and cleanup in the Central Street corridor are clear signs of rebirth in that neighborhood, with construction of the new Elias Brookings School in the background. With the assistance of federal, state, and city investment, progress is being made on several other key projects, including plans for construction of a New South End Community Center at Mason Wight Park. Trees have been planted, parks rehabilitated, and the Dryden Memorial School rehabilitated, among many other signs of physical improvements since the tornado. Beyond the response to the challenges brought on by the tornado, the plan also provides a framework to advance other important community priorities throughout the city. Progress on these fronts is also evident in many ways, including work in addressing educational and workforce-training priorities; efforts to highlight cultural assets, including the designation of the Springfield Central Cultural District downtown; enhanced public safety programs; and cohesive and collaborative economic-development initiatives to attract business and permanent jobs to the city. The full plan is available at www.developspringfield.com. DevelopSpringfield also announced the publication of the Rebuild Springfield Progress Report 2014. Developed in collaboration with many volunteers who participated in the Rebuild Springfield planning process, the report highlights many of the plan’s priorities. It is available online at www.developspringfield.com; in print at DevelopSpringfield offices at 1182 Main St. in Springfield; and will be distributed in the Republican on June 5. A Spanish-language version will be available soon and distributed throughout the community and also online.