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Episode 125: August 15, 2022

George Interviews Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno

BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien has a lively discussion with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The two discuss everything from the city’s new parking garage, to COVID-relief efforts, to a number of new developments — in the city’s downtown and its many neighborhoods. It’s all must listening, so join us for BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest  and sponsored by PeoplesBank.

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SPRINGFIELD — Developer Peter A Picknelly, along with Springfield city officials, on Thursday unveiled a proposal to build a new Hampden County courthouse on a 14.5-acre site along the Connecticut River north of the Memorial Bridge. The proposal, which also includes housing and a marina, comes with a pricetag of $475 million.

The plans, unveiled at a press conference, call for a four-story, 210,000-260,000-square-foot courthouse; an 11-story residential apartment building with 120-180 units; and a 50-slip marina on the waterfront and a space for an outdoor restaurant.

The proposal hinges on whether the state decides to replace the troubled Roderick L. Ireland Courthouse on State Street. The state is exploring potential new sites and the cost of building a new courthouse; the existing facility has been plagued by health concerns.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said that if the state decides to build a new courthouse, the proposed riverfront site would be the ideal location.

Sarno, Picknelly, and Tim Sheehan, Springfield’s chief development officer, all said that a development of this size and with its various components could be a catalyst for growth along the river and in the North End of the city, similar to what the Basketball Hall of Fame has done for the area south of the Memorial Bridge.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — By order of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Board of Health, the city of Springfield will implement a citywide mask-mandate policy, regardless of vaccination status, effective Monday, Sept. 13, which will remain in effect until Nov. 1, unless otherwise amended or rescinded.

Mayor Domenic Sarno and Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris joined with Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack, Mercy Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Roose, and City Council President Marcus Williams on Thursday for a press conference to announce the mask-mandate policy.

The mask mandate is for all public places, including municipal buildings, private businesses, and public gatherings and events to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Before the press conference and prior meetings with Sarno and Caulton-Harris, Keroack and Roose met with members of the business community and the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council to discuss the mandate.

Also, Sarno and Caulton-Harris met with the Springfield Thunderbirds hockey ownership group. Sarno appreciates their cooperation and understanding, and he looks forward to attending the upcoming season opener as a season-ticket holder. “At this time, we are only mandating that people wear a mask or face covering. We are not imposing any capacity limitations,” he noted.

The city of Springfield continues to see a significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases, especially in its younger population, and an increase in the Delta variant. For the week of Aug. 29, the city reported 547 cases, with 55%, or 300, of the 547 cases being under age 30.