Economic Development News

MassMutual named a 2014 World?s Most Ethical Company

March 20, 2014 - Springfield- Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. announced today that it has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent center of research promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance, as a 2014 World's Most Ethical Company. This is the first time that MassMutual has been honored with this award, which recognizes organizations that continue to raise the bar on ethical leadership and corporate behavior. World's Most Ethical Company honorees understand the correlation between ethics, reputation and daily interactions with their brand and that the award belongs as much to their associates as it does to them. Click here to read full article.

Reprinted Courtesy of the Republican.

Gunn Block public notice of the availability of the draft Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives and Remedial Action Plan (ABCA/RAP) for environmental cleanup

Availability of Draft Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives/Remedial Action Plans; 30-Day Public Comment Period, March 5 to April 5, 2014; and
Public Meeting, March 25, 2014, 6:00 PM at the Springfield Technical Community College, President's Conference Room, Building 16. Click here to read full Notice.

                                                       

Voices of the Valley: Oscar Ramos, owner, Xpress Money

March 3, 2014-Springfield, MA -I started my business in 2005 as an accounting and tax practice called Ramos Accounting and Tax Services.  I had already been an accountant for about seven years and I felt there was a need in the Latino community for professional tax preparers and financial advisers.

I got my start in an incubator office at the Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce. I started working with individual clients as well as specializing in small businesses, doing everything from bookkeeping to taxes and administration. After a year, I moved into an office at the Monarch Building with an accounting firm. It was an opportunity to move into one of Springfield?s top professional office buildings and attract more established and sophisticated clientele. In 2009 I opened an office on Main Street in the Northgate Plaza which I finally was able to call my own. Click here to read full article.

Reprinted Courtesy of the Republican.

Demolition clears site for entrance to renewed Union Station in Springfield

February 24, 2014-Springfield-Demolition crews are wrapping up work removing an unstable parking garage on Frank B. Murray Street, making way for the new improved Springfield Union Station taking shape across the street.

The property will serve as a new entrance to the planned $83 million Union Station Intermodal Transportation and Rail Center.

As part of the center, the soon-to-be-vacant lot also will be the site of a surface parking lot and four bus berths.

Renovations at the historic station were delayed but are on track to be completed sometime in 2015.

Union Station was built in 1926 and closed in 1973. It has been owned by the city since 1988.

Plans call for the construction of a 200-space parking garage with 23 lower-level bus berths in place of the baggage building adjacent to the station proper. Ticketing operations for Peter Pan Bus Lines, Amtrak and Greyhound will go into the surviving railroad ticket offices.

The great hall of the passenger terminal also will be renovated, as will tunnels accessing the train platforms.

The entire Union Station project is expected to result in some 3,000 construction jobs.

Reprinted courtesy of the Republican.

Springfield Hampton Inn & Suites to feature 87 rooms on East Columbus Avenue site

January 6, 2014 - Springfield - The 87-room Hampton Inn and Suites under construction at 851 East Columbus Ave. should be open by July or August, says developer Dinesh Patel.

The hotel is being built on the former site of Balise Hyundai on a 1.4 acre lot at a cost of $4.4 million. It is near the area proposed as a site for the MGM Resorts International casino. Click here to read full article.

Reprinted courtesy of the Republican.

Springfield, Mass.: Oh, the Places You Don't Know

November 26, 2013 - Springfield - Anyone who has ever driven north or south on Interstate 91 through Springfield, Mass. knows that the city is home to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. You can't miss the big b'ball that tops a soaring spire near the silver domed museum, which of course draws scores of euphoric hoop-lovers from all over the world. But for travelers who believe Springfield to be a one-stop wonder, think again. Click here to read full article.

Reprinted courtesy of the Huffington Post.

Framingham, Springfield affordable housing developments to be renovated thanks to $70.8 million in tax-exempt MassDevelopment bonds

November - Springfield - MassDevelopment has issued more than $70.8 million in tax-exempt bonds on behalf of real estate developer Beacon Communities LLC for two projects that will preserve 621 units of affordable housing in Massachusetts. Beacon Communities is using the tax-exempt bond proceeds to acquire and renovate Edmands House in Framingham and Colonial Estates in Springfield.

Beacon was involved in development of the 500-unit Colonial Estates in 1971, according to Mass Development. The complex is in the Sixteen Acres section of the city.

This transaction will preserve 450 units as affordable for 45 years. Here as well, Beacon renewed the rental assistance contract for the property, serving 349 units. This contract will remain in place for an additional 23-plus years. The property has 430 two-bedroom units and 70 three-bedroom townhouse units. Citi Community Capital purchased the bonds related to this project directly. Click here to read full article.

Reprinted courtesy of the Republican.

Nuvo Bank & Trust Co. of Springfield announces positive results

November 16, 2013 - Springfield - Nuvo Bank & Trust Co. announced net income of $2.26 million, or 96 cents per share, for the nine months ended Sept. 30, compared with $514,000, or 28 cents per share, for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2012.

Net income was $100,000, or 4 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2013, compared with $207,000, or 11 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2012. Click here to read full article.

Reprinted courtesy of the Republican

Springfield has potential to increase market-rate housing in downtown, South End, consultant says

November 14, 2013 - SPRINGFIELD - A newly completed analysis has found there is a potential for a significant increase in market rate housing in the downtown and South End, if developed to fit the needs of the largest markets - young adults, young couples, and "empty nesters." Laurie Volk, co-managing director with the city's consultant, Zimmerman/Volk Associates, presented the findings and recommendations on Thursday after an analysis of the two contiguous neighborhoods. Click here to read full article.

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

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Titan Roofing Inc. moving headquarters with 34 jobs to Tapley Street in Springfield

November 13, 2013 - Springfield - Titan Roofing Inc. is renovating a long-vacant warehouse at 200 Tapley St. into a new base of operations. The company plans to move 34 permanent jobs to the facility from its current headquarters at 70 Orange St. in Chicopee, president Fred Pazmino said. Click here to read full article.

Reprinted courtesy of the Republican.

Luxe Burger Bar opening in Springfield in December, promises transformation of old Visitors Information Center on riverfront

November 4, 2013 - Springfield - The former Visitors Information Center at 1200 Hall of Fame Ave. was built to grab people's attention; it was not built for serving food. But by the time Luxe Burger Bar opens in early December it will do both, said restaurateur John Elkhay. Click here to read full article.

Leanne Sedlak'sLeanne Sedlak's SkinCatering opens location in Springfield's Tower Square

November 4, 2013 - Springfield - Leanne Sedlak, owner of SkinCatering day spa, is opening a second location downtown in Tower Square, 1500 Main St., on the second floor. Click here to read full article.

Springfield Technology Park launches business growth center

October 21, 2013 - SPRINGFIELD - Springfield Technology Park announced that it has launched the new Business Growth Center, reflecting its role in developing and sustaining a healthy and vibrant regional economy.

The center will provide office space to small businesses and access to free business resources, but will greatly expand its growth, capacity building and mentoring programs to businesses, particularly those whose owners are under-represented and poised for growth in the Pioneer Valley, according to a news release.

"Since its beginning, Building 101 in Springfield Technology Park has served as a destination for businesses in all stages of development, not just start-ups," said Marla Michel, director of the center. "We have been mentoring companies for over 14 years. The Business Growth Center's new and expanded emphasis on growth and helping companies learn how to build capacity is in line with regional strategies and is a logical next step for the center?s programming."

The center's first initiative, the Stronger Businesses Program, in partnership with the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield and the Urban League of Springfield, will begin the week of Nov. 18. The program is open to business owners who want to learn how to grow, plan and build capacity for the future.

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

Mason Square supermarket in Springfield, other projects might gain from Working Cities Challenge

October 14, 2013 - SPRINGFIELD - A program run by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston called Working Cities Challenge could provide much as $700,000 in grant money on the table to help Springfield develop a full-line supermarket and bring fresh produce to the "food desert" neighborhoods surrounding Mason Square.

"We are also hoping to do some workforce development if we get the Working Cities grant," said A. John "Jay" Minkarah, president and CEO of DevelopSpringfield, a public-private group focused on economic development in the city.

DevelopSpringfield is working with Partners for a Healthier Community, Big Y Foods Inc., Springfield Technical Community College and others. They will learn if they received the grant in January.

But the real value of the Working Cities Challenge might be in the cooperation required just to participate in the program.

Research shows that downtrodden communities rebuild themselves only when the government, business sector and not-for-profit charities work together, said Prabal Chakrabarti, vice president of regional and community outreach department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The Boston Fed is organizing the Working Cities Challenge along with donors and an organization of the state's largest employers.

The challenge makes as many as three, three-year implementation awards of $150,000 to $700,00 and three to five study awards of $50,000 to $80,000. None of the money comes from the Federal Reserve, Chakrabarti said. Instead, the money is coming from Living Cities, a consortium of deep-pocket foundations, and from the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, a consortium of the state's 16 largest employers including MassMutual Financial Group.

Partners such as Boston Boston Community Capital, Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, The Life Initiative, MassINC, the Alliance for Business Leadership, Clark University's Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise and the state will decide who gets the money, Chakrabarti said.

And who wins largely will be determined by how well people work together and cooperation. That cooperation is the real point of the exercise and stands to enrich the cities that apply by far more than $700,000.

"Process matters," he said. "By trying to win, you have to work together. We hope that the network that is formed brings some benefits for the city."

It's a lesson Springfield leaders learned on trips sponsored by the Boston Fed to rejuvenated cities like Grand Rapids, Mich., and Winston-Salem, N.C.

It's a lesson Springfield is learning, said Frank Robinson, executive director of Partners for a Healthier Community. He recalled a recent visit the judges made to Springfield to check out plans for the supermarket. A possible site has been identified in an old Springfield Technical Community College parking lot off Oak Street

"They wanted to see whether we had grass roots all the way up to grass tips,"Robinson said. "This doesn't happen often in Springfield. But they heard the same consistent message all the way across the board, if they talked to government, business or community groups."

It's important work, Robinson said. Families in Springfield's poorest neighborhoods can't get to supermarkets that sell fresh fruit and vegetables.

"If I am told to eat healthy meals, it is hard to do if I must rely on convenience stores," Robinson said. "But these families cannot walk this far, don't have access to a car and would rather not spend money on a taxi."

He said a Mason Square supermarket would also serve commuters who travel through the neighborhood each day.

Holyoke's application is for a program called Holyoke SPARK - Stimulating Potential, Accessing Resource Knowledge - which is meant to develop a work force to take advantage of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center and Holyoke's innovation economy strategy.

In Chicopee, city leaders are working with with Elms College, Holyoke Community College and the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts to improve educational achievement. The initiative will address income and education gaps for middle school students transitioning to high school, high school students preparing for college and adults graduating with GEDs, and will assist individuals in need of further training and support to advance from a current position.

In Pittsfield, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will address the mismatch of long-empty jobs and unemployed residents by analyzing key job growth areas and employer needs.

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

Western Massachusetts' economic development is blossoming

October 13, 2013 - SPRINGFIELD - MassDevelopment, the Commonwealth's real-estate and finance authority, has seen a recent explosion in activity in the Pioneer Valley. Specifically, recent developments in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, and Westfield will ready the region for a colorful autumn.

MassDevelopment bought the former federal courthouse in Springfield in 2009 and has since revitalized and rebranded it as 1550 Main. Five years ago, city, state, federal, and business leaders worried the building would be mothballed; today, occupancy at 1550 Main exceeds 92 percent.
Alekman & DiTusa, a Springfield law firm, finalized a lease in early September for more than 4,000 square feet. Its neighbors at 1550 Main include Baystate Health, the Springfield School Department, Macmillan and Son, and Kelly Services. Art exhibits enliven the interior atrium and summer concerts entertain lunchtime users of the plaza.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her Springfield staff recently joined the 1550 Main family and discovered that security guard Ken Konopka's father was killed in World War II, but never received his Purple Heart. The staff secured the posthumous Purple Heart for the late Mr. Konopka and presented it to Ken, a Ludlow resident, at a 1550 Main ceremony.

1550 Main shows results; Union Station shows the sprouts of rehabilitation. Earlier this year, MassDevelopment provided $467,400 in grants from the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund to assess and clean up contamination at a former parking garage across from the Station, laying the groundwork for surface parking and bus bays to support the new Union Station Intermodal Transportation Center.

The latest grant raised the Agency's total commitment to Union Station to $2.1 million. Unfortunately, the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund is fully committed and unable to fund new requests, a situation we hope will be resolved by the Legislature soon to continue to help worthy projects like this one.

Holyoke received a boost with the spring opening of the Massachusetts High Performance Computing Center. Officials this fall are focusing on smart-growth opportunities in this Gateway City. MassDevelopment's real estate department is working with Holyoke leaders to explore strategies for downtown redevelopment, an effort that grew from collaborating with the Holyoke Housing Authority to examine options for the redevelopment of Lyman Terrace.

After studying opportunities for housing preservation and renovation and identifying public improvements that will enhance the safety and public amenities in the neighborhood, the Holyoke Housing Authority issued a request for proposals for a partner to redevelop Lyman Terrace. The response so far appears promising. Even prior to selecting a developer, MassDevelopment continues to work with the City of Holyoke to identify other key redevelopment opportunities within the downtown along with the resources needed to spark further revitalization.

Economic development requires working the residential as well as the commercial sides of development. Here, too, the region seems to be in good shape. MassDevelopment has seen more people drawn to downtown living in the Pioneer Valley. At Village Hill Northampton, a New Urbanist community on the site of the former Northampton State Hospital, local builder Jonathan Wright is embarking on a multifamily development in the neighborhood's Ford Crossing residential area. Pecoy Homes, a West Springfield developer, has sold its first 10 lots in the Westview neighborhood.

These new projects build on Village Hill Northampton's past successes: all six single-family lots in Ford Crossing's Beechwood development have sold, and the community's first commercial building on the north campus is scheduled to open next month. Plans are in the works to add housing in a variety of types to meet demand, which should in turn continue the virtuous cycle of residential and commercial development at Village Hill Northampton.

MassDevelopment's finance programs have also boosted housing and industry in the Pioneer Valley. The Agency partnered with community banks - Clinton Savings Bank, Hampden Bank, and Savings Institute Bank and Trust Company of Connecticut - to finance construction of Armbrook Village, the 122-unit senior living community in Westfield.

The Agency has also stepped up its support of the Massachusetts manufacturing industry, which boasts a storied tradition of precision machining in the Pioneer Valley. Both the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County and Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School received grants through MassDevelopment's AMP it up! campaign, designed to promote careers in advanced manufacturing. Thanks to tours at companies like Chicopee's Hoppe Technologies and programs for students in Ware and Palmer, a whole new generation can see the high-tech, skilled opportunities in manufacturing.

Pioneer Valley communities are diverse: bucolic, liberal, urban, and working-class. The recent surge in regional economic development has lifted different municipal types. Each, though, does have something in common. One of Springfield's favorite and fantastical sons has a quote that could apply to economic development rather than the Lorax: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." The Pioneer Valley is fortunate to have a cadre of thoughtful, active civic and governmental leaders who invest their time and talents in their communities and their futures. Their work is multiplied by private sector commitment to the Pioneer Valley: builders, developers, and employers creating economic opportunity in the area. All of us will need to continue to work together to keep up this momentum. As Dr. Seuss so wisely put it, "It's not about what it is, it?s about what it can become."

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

Springfield Technical Community College's Mobile SIM offers state-of-the art medical training outside the classroom

October 1, 2013 - SPRINGFIELD - Springfield Technical Community College, home of the region's premiere patient simulation training facility, the SIMS Medical Center, recently expanded its hands-on training capabilities with the unveiling of a new Mobile SIM unit.

The unit, an ambulance turned into a state-of-the-art training environment, will provide students with a realistic platform to prepare them for work outside the classroom. The Mobile SIM provides an interactive educational environment which will, in return, enhance the student's performance while improving patient care.

According to Michael Foss, dean of the School of Health & Patient Simulation, there are no other training vehicles like this in the state. The Mobile SIM has the most up-to-date and advanced equipment available on the market. It was something Foss and Christopher Scott, director of clinical education/SIMS, felt was important in order to properly train those using the unit. The Mobile SIM environment is as close to being in a "live" work setting as possible, complete with simulated body fluids and even odors.

"We want our students to walk out of here knowing how to use the technology and equipment used in their own work environment," said Scott.


A look inside Springfield Technical Community College Mobile SIM unit, which was unveiled on Aug. 9, 2013.
Submitted photo The unit is not only equipped with all the tools and materials needed for transporting patients, it also features an audio and video system with live-feed capabilities for real-time feedback.

"This provides us with the opportunity to train on even the non-verbal gestures," said Scott. "That feedback is incredibly valuable in a training situation. You may be giving non-verbal cues that are making a patient uncomfortable or unable to understand you; by having this technology on the unit, we can point out these things in debriefing and help (the student) change their approach."

The idea for the Mobile SIM was something the department had been dreaming about for several years. Recognizing there was a need to teach students how not only to care for patients in a stationary setting, the need for ambulance-care training became a priority.

'We've worked really hard to make our SIMS Medical Center a comprehensive and realistic learning system.' Michael Foss "What hospital doesn't have ambulance services bringing patients to and from them?," asked Scott. "We need people to be trained appropriately so they can properly transfer patients from one level to another. Prior to having the Mobile Unit, we couldn't adequately train our students to transfer a patient from our floor to, say, Mercy Hospital."

With help from the STCC Foundation, the School of Health & Patient Simulation was able to purchase a decommissioned ambulance from the town of Monson's fleet. Knowing the ambulance would need a complete overhaul, Foss and Scott thought about ways to maximize the learning and training opportunities for STCC students in other departments and approached the STCC Automotive Technology department about handling the renovation of the unit.

As a result, the Mobile SIM is providing students in other disciplines with valuable hands-on training experience.

"We wouldn't be where we are today without STCC Automotive Technology Department Chair Ray Sbriscia and the rest of the automotive team and students," said Scott. "They did a complete workover on that vehicle, which provided our automotive students with practical, hands-on experience for their field."

Scott noted that the automotive team was responsible for the complete overhaul on the vehicle - from doing a complete inspection and work-up of the ambulance's internal system (ensuring it would run properly) to a complete interior renovation to transform the unit into a hands-on learning classroom for the School of Health & Patient Simulation students. Going forward, the automotive students also will be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance on the unit.

The addition of the Mobile SIM to the SIMS Medical Center now allows the School of Health & Patient Simulation to offer the most realistic, complete training experience for those in the healthcare field - from the hospital facility to in-transit care. It provides STCC with the ability to provide on-site training to regional businesses and organizations, and brings the "day in the life of a healthcare provider" experience to local high schools or regional employment boards.

"We've worked really hard to make our SIMS Medical Center a comprehensive and realistic learning system," said Foss. "The Mobile SIM was the piece that was missing. At the SIMS Medical Center, we're bridging the gap between the classroom and clinical practice"

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

Springfield Technical Community College's Mobile SIM offers state-of-the art medical training outside the classroom (copy 1)

October 1, 2013 -SPRINGFIELD - Springfield Technical Community College, home of the region's premiere patient simulation training facility, the SIMS Medical Center, recently expanded its hands-on training capabilities with the unveiling of a new Mobile SIM unit. The unit, an ambulance turned into a state-of-the-art training environment, will provide students with a realistic platform to prepare them for work outside the classroom. The Mobile SIM provides an interactive educational environment which will, in return, enhance the student's performance while improving patient care. Click here to read article.

Springfield's Scibelli Enterprise Center gets clean energy grant

September 23, 2013 - SPRINGFIELD - The Scibelli Enterprise Center, business incubator in the Springfield Technology Park, has received $20,000 to foster green-energy businesses.

The grant, announced last week, is one of four awards totaling $300,000 announced last week by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

"It's really very visionary for the Clean Energy Center to support incubation and support for young companies", said Marla S. Michel, director of the Scibelli Enterprise Center and director of community engagement for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The Scibelli Center already has three tenant companies engaged in clean energy technologies: Black Island Wind Turbines, which adapts wind power technology orginally developed to power Antarctic expeditions; SolaBlock, which makes solar panels in concrete blocks for stackable vertical use; and Victory Energy Solutions, which helps homeowners save energy.

Patrick Quinlan runs both Black Island and SolaBlock. He describes the companies as "graduates" of the Scibelli Enterprise Center, having moved to new, larger quarters in Hadley.

"But we still participate in all the programs,"Quinlan said. "They've been a big help and there is so much opportunity. We're grateful to Marla Michel and the Scibeli Center for giving us our start."

Black island, founded in 2012, has two active founders and five part-time employees with a number of interns. The company is raising $500,000 this year and hopes to raise $2.25 million in 2015.

All three companies total six employees, according to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

Michel said the money will go to help provide staff and programming to the center's client companies, both ones that rent office space in the building and ones housed elsewhere.

"As you try to grow your programs, it is hard to have funding for staff, management and operations," she said. "It's hard to put that on the backs of new companies."

Jeremy McDiarmid, senior director of innovation and industry support for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, said the money comes from a clean energy surcharge on utility bills across the state.

Other recipients are:

  •  Greentown Labs in Somerville with $190,000. Greentown Labs recently moved to Somerville from Boston's Innovation District, and hosts 28 cleantech organizations with about 100 employees.
  •  North Shore InnoVentures in Beverly received $60,000. North Shore InnoVentures hosts three clean energy startups in its Beverly office space, plus an additional six-member clean energy startups who have access to mentoring and other services. The nine cleantech startups employ 33 workers.
  •  Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center received $30,000. The Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth hosts two early-stage clean energy startups, employing four workers.

From 2011 to 2012, clean energy jobs rose by 11.2 percent, according to the state's news release. There are 5,000 clean energy companies in Massachusetts that employ 72,000 workers.

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

 

 

 

Armando Feliciano, Jay Minkarah honored for Gateway Cities work

September 23, 2013 - SPRINGFIELD - MassINC will honor Armando Feliciano, chairman of the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, and Jay Minkarah of DevelopSpringfield as well as The O'Connell Companies for their efforts at revitalizing Massachusetts cities.

Together with leaders from the 26 Gateway Cities, MassINC will celebrate the innovative spirit of Massachusetts' historic Gateway Cities by honoring five individuals and two organizations that have had a transformative impact on their communities, according to a news release.

The awards will be presented at the first annual Gateway Cities Innovation Institute Luncheon, to held on Nov. 12th, at University of Massachusetts at Boston. The event will mark the one-year anniversary of The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute. Suffolk Construction Founder, President and CEO John Fish will give the luncheon address.

Armando Feliciano is a longtime Springfield community leader and chairman of the Springfield Redevelopment Authority. After the 2011 tornado destroyed Feliciano's home, he strove not only to rebuild his own property, but to also foster a collaborative partnership between the SRA and DevelopSpringfield, a newly formed public-private economic development organization. As the first CEO of DevelopSpringfield, Jay Minkarah has devoted enormous energy to this joint effort. The opportunity their collaboration has produced is embodied in the Rebuild Springfield Plan - an ambitious, forward-thinking blueprint for the city's future that the SRA and DevelopSpringfield are now working together to implement.

Holyoke-based O'Connell Companies is renowned for their work on large and technically complex projects. As the first private developer to invest in WPI's Gateway Park, they have joined a small class of firms with the vision and risk tolerance to execute on truly transformative projects. The O'Connell Companies addition of 92,000 square feet of commercial space complements public and institutional investments in the area. Together, these coordinated projects are changing a once-blighted area near Lincoln Square into a growing mixed-use district.

Other 2013 Gateway Cities Innovation Award winners are as follows:

Curt Spaulding, the regional administrator for EPA's Region 1.

Marc Dohan, executive director of the Twin Cities Community Development Corp.[[

The Merrimack Valley Sandbox, which has the mission to boost the economic and social well-being of greater Lowell and Lawrence by advancing entrepreneurship and innovation. The Sandbox fosters entrepreneurship among diverse populations of residents and workers in the Merrimack Valley, including high school and college students, adults, and non-English speakers.

Mary Waldron, executive director of Brockton 21st Century Corp

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

F.W. Webb opens new Smith & Wesson Industrial Park site in Springfield

September 16, 2013 - Springfield - F.W.Webb hosted a ribbon cutting Thursday at its new 65,000-square-foot facility in the Springfield Smith & Wesson Industrial Park at 1145 Performance Blvd.

F.W. Webb is New England's largest plumbing and heating distributor with a 40-year history in Springfield. The company outgrew an older facility in the North End and the new building has room to expand even further.

The company, which originally committed to 16 jobs, is already up to 25 employees. The company bought the 14-acre property from the Springfield Redevelopment Authority for $1 million. Springfield assisted the project through a 10-year tax increment financing plan, which provides new tax revenue for the city but also helps the company stabilize after the large investment in the site.

The Springfield Redevelopment Authority still has a 25 acres left in the Springfield Smith & Wesson Industrial Park for future development.

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

Springfield College School of Social Work receives national reaccrediation

September 16, 2013 - Springfield - The Springfield College School of Social Work, which has been continuously accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1989, has been granted full national reaccreditation from the council for the next eight years with no conditions. The council is the exclusive national accrediting body for social work higher education and verifies that degree programs meet the high standards considered essential to quality social work education.

"This is an important accomplishment for our school and represents the standards of quality that characterize graduate social work education at the Springfield College School of Social Work," said Francine Vecchiolla, dean of the school.

Among the strengths that the council acknowledged are the school's alignment with the mission of Springfield College; its commitment to educating competent professionals who provide services to diverse populations; the strong relationship of the faculty and field education office staff with agencies, schools and community groups; the school's clear message in its support of diversity; and the school's strong outcomes assessment program. The council also praised the school's active advisory board. The school's programs continue to be dynamic and responsive to the ever-changing nature of social work.

The Springfield College School of Social Work offers a concentration in advanced generalist practice and multiple program options for students including a full-time, two-year, weekday master of social work program in Springfield, and a part-time, three-year, weekend master of social work program in Springfield and Worcester.

There also are options for graduates of Council on Social Work Education-accredited bachelor of social work programs to complete the master of social work degree in either a four-semester weekend or three-semester weekday advanced standing program. The school offers an accelerated bachelor of science-master of social work program with the School of Arts, Sciences and Professional Studies. Graduates are eligible for professional social work licensure in all 50 states.

The combined master of social work-juris doctorate is a four-year program in conjunction with Western New England University School of Law. The MSW/JD program is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Graduates are eligible for professional social work licensure and bar examination.

Additionally, the school offers a post-master's certificate in advanced practice with children and adolescents, which provides 90 continuing education units.

The home of the School of Social Work, the Brennan Center, is a state-of-the-art teaching and conference facility that underwent a $2.2 million renovation in 2002. The facility was again renovated in 2012 to include additional classroom and office space. It includes technologically enhanced classrooms, a computer lab, a tiered auditorium, faculty offices, and a large, light filled atrium, which is the site of school events and also serves as a student lounge. Easily accessible, it is located 1.45 miles from the main campus, and has on-site parking.

The school will host open houses at the Brennan Center on Nov. 14, Feb. 6 and March 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. For information, contact the School of Social Work admissions coordinator, Chris Hinely, at (413) 748-3060 or visit the www.springfieldcollege.edu/ssw

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

Big Y awards $230,000 in scholarships for 2013-14 academic year

September 16, 2013 - Springfield - Big Y World Class Markets selected more than 300 academically outstanding students from communities surrounding their stores to receive a total of more than $230,000 in college scholarships for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Unlike most area scholarships, these awards are based on academic merit, regardless of financial need. With Big Y?s assistance, students from all over Massachusetts and Connecticut will be attending schools such as Western New England University, Westfield State University, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Connecticut, University of Hartford, Springfield College and Quinnipiac University this fall. Top recipients were honored at a Scholarship Awards Ceremony held at the Big Y Store Support Center in Springfield in May.

Big Y's scholarship program reflects the company's longstanding commitment to education and is considered to be one of the most competitive in New England, with thousands of students applying each year. Since this program was founded in 1984, more than $3 million has been awarded to more than 4,000 students.

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission promotes 'Car Free Week'

September 16, 2013 - Springfeild - The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, in collaboration with Live Well Springfield, the city of Springfield, the town of Amherst, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, MassBike, MassRIDES, and MassDOT, will participate in Car Free Week Sept. 16-23.

Endorsing the environmental, financial, community, and health benefits of green sustainable travel options, Massachusetts Car Free Week promotes transit, bicycling, walking, carpooling, vanpooling and teleworking as greener modes of transportation. Car Free Week in Massachusetts is an extension of World Car Free Day, an annual event in which citizens in more than 1,000 cities in 40 countries around the globe participate, according to a news release.

Massachusetts residents are encouraged to participate in Car Free Week by using green transportation, including bicycling, carpooling, and public transit. Residents can use www.NuRide.com to track the miles they have commuted and receive discounts for local businesses. Miles traveled by bicycle can also be logged in at www.NationalBikeChallenge.org, a friendly competition between different states.

For more information about Car Free Week, visit www.mass.gov/MassDOT/CarFree

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

Springfield College awarded state grant to train Springfield Public Schools teachers in mathematics, special education

September 9, 2013 - Springfield - Springfield College was awarded an $867,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary Education to fund a strategic partnership with Springfield Public Schools to increase the number of teachers who are fully prepared and dedicated to meeting the challenges faced in high-need Level 3 and 4 SPS schools.

The S3 ("S-Cubed") program is designed to increase the pool of effective teachers in the hard-to-staff subject and specialty areas of mathematics and moderate disabilities (special education). The S3 program will serve a cohort of 25 SPS teachers who already hold their preliminary license. Teachers selected for the cohort will complete the Springfield College approved initial licensure program to become fully certified. Grant funds will cover the cost of tuition for 24 of the graduate credits needed to complete the state licensure program. Springfield College will offer the balance of the coursework required for the master's degree at a special rate of tuition.

This innovative program includes the delivery of coursework that enables the cohort members to immediately put their learning into practice. S3 includes a value-added support system that provides each teacher with extensive, robust on-site coaching. Springfield College Education Department faculty members will deliver coursework on-site in the schools, and provide on-site coaching to cohort members.

"I am excited about being involved in this project because it enables Springfield College to strengthen its longstanding partnership with Springfield Public Schools to create a model program that has the potential to produce effective mathematics and special education teachers who are committed to, and successful at, increasing student learning and academic achievement in the district for years to come," said Linda Davis-Delano, Springfield College's director of educator preparation, when describing the program.

In addition to fostering increased student learning in these priority fields, S3 incorporates elements of the district's "Springfield Effective Educator Development System" or SEEDS. This includes meeting the needs of all students, engaging families and communities, and developing professional learning communities, where teachers work together to help students achieve.

"Both organizations, Springfield College and Springfield Public Schools, are deeply committed to the development and retention of highly effective, fully licensed teachers in high priority content areas and recognize the potential of the S3 Program innovative delivery model to support this undertaking," said Davis-Delano.

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

Baystate Health buys 3400 Main St., Springfield, building

September 9, 2013 - Springfield - Baystate Health has bought a medical office building at 3400 Main Street for $6.5 million.

Baystate had been renting the property, said spokeswoman Amy Swisher. It is at the corner of Main Street and Wasson Avenue, and formerly housed the Baystate Comprehensive Breast Center, now called the Baystate Breast & Wellness Center, which relocated to 100 Wasson Ave.

Records at the Hampden County Register of Deeds detail the purchase from Stutz Realty of Cottage Street in Springfield. The property is assessed at $2.9 million, according to city records.

The office building at the corner of Main Street and Wasson Avenue totals 38,024 square feet on two floors.

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican



Health New England named Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Employer of Choice

September 2, 2013 - Health New England has been named recipient of the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Employer of Choice Award for 2013 in the non-manufacturing category.

"We are very proud to be recognized as an employer of choice in our region," said Amy Trombley, vice president and chief talent officer. "HNE is committed to fostering a culture of high performance. HNE's associates receive ongoing education/training, coaching/professional development, comprehensive wellness programming and numerous opportunities for both personal and professional growth and development. We fill 38 percent of our internal positions with our employees."

Employers of Choice recipients are being recognized as companies that have developed a culture for transforming and rewarding employee performance. These companies excel in supporting employees with training and development, open communication, job recognition, and work-life balance.

Also named Employers of Choice recipients for 2013 are: Farm Credit Financial Partners Inc., a provider of technology services in the Farm Credit System and a provider of credit and financial services technology among agricultural credit associations from Maine to California; and Maybury Material Handling Inc., a one-stop, full-service provider for material handling needs since 1976.

Reprinted courtesy of The Republican

Square One, Putnam Vocational Technical Academy prepare students for child-care careers

7/31/13 - Springfield, MA - Republican Photo by Mark M.Murray - TD Charitable Foundation presented a check for $10,000 to Square One to be used to provide fulltime employment for 15 students enrolled in the Putnam Vocational Technical Academy's Early Edication and Care Track. Click here to read article.

Fallon Community Health Plan opens Summit ElderCare in Springfield

July 29, 2013 - SPRINGFIELD - Fallon Community Health Plan recently opened a new senior care facility, Summit ElderCare, in the North Medical District at 101 Wason Ave. Fallon said it is the first to bring what it calls a nationally-recognized model of care to the Western Massachusetts region. Click here to read article.

Western Massachusetts job training programs get a boost;Community Works provides apprenticeships for building trades

July 29, 2013 - SPRINGFIELD, MA - Aziza Holloway-Abdegeo used to sell buildings; now she builds them. The economy put a damper on Holloway-Abdegeo's career selling real estate. But, a pre-apprenticeship training program called Community Works helped get her foot in the door as a union apprentice carpenter. As an apprentice she's helped build the $114-million Roger L. Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy and work on the $43.4 million renovation and expansion of Forest Park Middle School. Click here to read article.

Springfield College hosts 20th annual Athletic Training Student Workshop

July 29, 2013 - Springfield, MA - Springfield College recently hosted its 20th annual Athletic Training Student Workshop intended for high school students interested in careers in athletic training and sports medicine. High school students from throughout the country attend the workshop and focus on anatomy, injury prevention, and care of common lower extremity athletic injuries. Click hear to read article.

Massachusetts launches creative economy network

July 28, 2013 - Springfield, MA - Housing and Economic Development announced it is accepting applications for organizations to be a part of the newly established Creative Economy Network.  The network is a regional effort to that will accelerate the economic growth of the commonwealth's creative industries across the state. Click here to read article.

Baystate Medical Center listed as third-best hospital in Massachusetts by U.S. News & World Report

July 16, 2013 - Springfield, MA - Bay State Medical Center is the third-best hospital in Massachusetts, according to new U.S. News & World Report "Best Hospital" ranking released Tuesday.

That's up from fifth-best Massachusetts hospital in the publication's rankings last year. "What it means is that Baystate Medical Center has one of the highest quality rating in the county and it is one of the safest hospitals in the country as far as avoiding a serious medical mistake, said Dr. Evan M. Benjamin, senior vice president for health care quality at Baystate. Click here to read article. 

Springfield's Sitterly Movers integrates green technology into its fleet

July 8, 2013 - Springfield, MA - Sitterly Movers-Roger Sitterly & Son, a Springfield-based moving company since 1930, has added innovative green technology to one of its moving trucks. Sitterly is deploying the "Trailer Tail" to one of its largest fleet vehicles. The technology, which it had custom made by California-based ATDynamics, is designed to reduce fuel costs by cutting down on "drag." Click here to read article.

STCC adds associate's degree in architecture and building technology

July 8, 2013 - Springfield, MA - The program, in the college's School of Engineering Technologies, is led by Warren Hall, department chair, and is now accepting applications for the fall semester.  Students who successfully complete the requirements of the program will be fully-trained to enter the workforce as computer-assisted-design-capable architectural draft-persons, assistant construction estimators, deputy building code officials, retail construction material representatives or have the option of transferring to a baccalaureate institution where they may pursue an undergraduate major in architecture, building and construction technology, or other related fields. Click here to read article

Springfield officials, organizations seek to create cultural district downtown to enhance attractions, new venues

July 6, 2013 - Springfield, MA - Many local officials and organizations are hoping to create a state-recognized cultural district in downtown Springfield to promote its attractions ranging from the Springfield Museums to Symphony Hall, and to expand and strengthen opportunities. Click here to read article.

Springfield renews effort to sell closed fire stations on Sumner Avenue and Oakland Street

The properties are being sold separately, "as is," and bids must be received by July 31, at 2 p.m., at the Office of Procurement at City Hall.

"It's a unique opportunity," Mayor Domenic Sarno said this week. "You have seen it across the country where old fire stations are being redeveloped, many times with an urban pioneer who wants to live in them."

The two fire stations were closed in recent years, and were replaced by a single, state-of-the-art fire station on White Street. Click here to read article.

Construction begins at American International College

July, 1, 2013 - Springfield, MA - Work has begun renovating the undergraduate admissions offices at American International College, part of $2.5 million worth of construction planned for the school this summer, according to the college. Click here to read article

Workers erect steel at new Sisters of Providence and Hampden County Physician Associates medical building

June 24, 2013 - Springfield, MA - Workers have erected the steel frame for the new 75,000-square -foot, $20 million office building for Hampden County Physician Accociates and Sisters of Providence Health System.  Click here to read article

State data center nears opening on Springfield's Elliot Street

June 3, 2013 - Springfield, MA -The $110 million state data center on Elliot Street in Springfield, built behind the facade of the former Technical High School, provided 200 construction jobs and will have a permanent staff of 100. Click here to read article.

The Fort and Student Prince plans to open casual beer garden next month (copy 1)

May 27, 2013 - Springfield, MA - Rudi R. Scherff, managing partner of the Student Prince Cafe and the Fort Dining Room, is tired of seeing people sitting in their cars, waiting for traffic to clear so they can leave the downtown parking garages visible from his family's well-known German restaurant.

"At the end of the work day, after a performance at CityStage or a game at the MassMutual Center. I see it all the time." Scherff said recalling trips to Germany where lively beer gardens are part of the culture. "Wouldn't it be better to see all those people sitting outside, enjoying some beer and sausages?" Click here to read article.

MassMutual Financial Group of Springfield back in the Fortune 100 (copy 1)

May 13, 2013 - Springfield, MA - Fortune, the magazine, once again favors MassMutual Financial Group. MassMutual clocked in at No. 94 on the Fortune 500 list, marking the insurer's return to the exclusive Fortune 100, where it last was in 2010 when it was No. 93 based on 2009 performance. Click here to read article.

The Fort and Student Prince plans to open casual beer garden next month

May 27, 2013 - Springfield, MA - Rudi R. Scherff, managing partner of the Student Prince Cafe and the Fort Dining Room, is tired of seeing people sitting in their cars, waiting for traffic to clear so they can leave the downtown parking garages visible from his family's well-known German restaurant.

"At the end of the work day, after a performance at CityStage or a game at the MassMutual Center. I see it all the time." Scherff said recalling trips to Germany where lively beer gardens are part of the culture. "Wouldn't it be better to see all those people sitting outside, enjoying some beer and sausages?" Click here to read article.

MassMutual Financial Group of Springfield back in the Fortune 100

May 13, 2013 - Springfield, MA - Fortune, the magazine, once again favors MassMutual Financial Group. MassMutual clocked in at No. 94 on the Fortune 500 list, marking the insurer's return to the exclusive Fortune 100, where it last was in 2010 when it was No. 93 based on 2009 performance. Click here to read article.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Congressman Richard E. Neal Announce $21 Million in Long Term Disaster Recovery for the City of Springfield

March 27, 2013 - Springfield, MA- Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today a $21 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for long-term disaster recovery costs of the severe storms in 2011.  This grant, part of $514 million allocated among nine states, is provided through HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program to support long-term disaster recovery efforts in areas with the greatest extent of 'unmet need.'

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated "Within the last two years the residents and businesses of the City of Springfield have been through a lot. Since June 1, 2011 a lot of hard work has gone into our recovery and today marks a significant piece of funding for our long term recovery efforts. This is a great day for the City of Springfield."

The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, signed into law by President Obama on January 29th, included $16 billion in CDBG-Disaster Recovery funding.  Eight days later, HUD announced a first round of aid totaling $5.4 billion for five states including the City of New York all impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  HUD will announce additional allocations throughout the year based upon the level of remaining needs to help other states and local communities impacted by natural disasters in 2011-2013.  

Mayor Sarno indicated that; "as we continue to maximize and finalize our efforts with FEMA, which is separate from this remarkable announcement, this will allow us to continue our positive momentum toward rebuilding and revitalizing the City."

Western MA Small Businesses to Receive Personalized Mentorship from the Experts.

March 22, 2013 - Tuesday, April 2, 2013 there is a unique opportunity for food, catering, hospitality and beverage entrepreneurs to access personalized mentorship with pro-bono professionals

Since 2008, Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program has been providing business owners in the food, beverage and hospitality industry with the essential ingredients to start, strengthen and grow their small businesses. Learn the essential ingredients for business success from the experts. Join us at the first Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Speed Coaching Event in Holyoke and get live, FREE personalized advice from local professionals and Samuel Adams!

Common Capital has partnered with Sam Adams to bring the Brewing the American Dream program to Western MA. This is a free business assistance event.


The unique format of this evening offers small business owners:

  • A chance to meet for 20 minute sessions with Samuel Adams employees and local business experts


Learn about

  • Marketing & PRE-Commerce
  • Packaging
  • Food Sourcing
  • Sales and Distribution
  • Accounting and Financing...and more!
  • Opportunity to network and connect with fellow entrepreneurs
  • Contact with local organizations that support small business
  • Access to a FREE business consultation with lender Common Capital to learn how to access critical capital

Time: 6:00-8:30 PM
Refreshments provided!
 
Where: Holyoke Community College: Kittredge Center
303 Homestead Ave
Holyoke, MA 01040

Register at: http://samadamsbtadwesternma.eventbrite.com/#

Springfield Best Retail Practices Workshop

March 22, 2013-BEST RETAIL PRACTICES PROGRAM to assist retailers, restaurateurs and storefront  business owners in Springfield. BEST RETAIL PRACTICES (BRP) brings professional advice to independent retailers in all aspects of store and restaurant design, layout and visual merchandising, customer service and both traditional and social media marketing through workshops and one-on-one consultations.


Springfield's BRP's 3-part program begins with a free 2 hour workshop in which visual examples of current best practices are shared. Everyone is sure to learn something new!  The workshop will be held Tuesday morning, April 30th , from 8:00-10:30AM in the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Conference Room, 60 Congress Street, Springfield, MA.

Retail expert Christine Moynihan of Retail Visioning will present the free workshop and conduct the ten individual consultations. Since 2003, she has brought the "tips, tools and tricks of the trade" of this program to over 1000 business owners across the state and provided specific recommendations to over 350 shops, salons and restaurants. Following the workshop, qualified owners of shops, restaurants and store front service businesses in Springfield may apply to be one of the businesses that will receive a one-on-one, in-store consultation session with Moynihan - also for free! These businesses will then receive a written report with specific ideas and recommendations for improving their businesses now and for the future.  


Qualifying businesses attending the workshop will also have the opportunity to apply for up to $2000 in federal grants to implement recommended improvements to the interior of their business or up to $10,000 to improve the facade. Criteria for the consultations and eligibility to receive the grant money will be explained at the workshop. 


For more information on the workshop, consultations and grants -- and to register for the workshop --please contact Samalid Hogan or Richard Griffin at 413.787.6020 or shogan@springfieldcityhall.com or rgriffin2@springfieldcityhall.com While all are invited, seating is limited and attendance at the workshop is required for access to the grants so advance registration is highly recommended for this popular program. 

Cambridge College Celebrating Move Downtown

February 12, 2013 - Cambridge College is celebrating its move to Tower Square in downtown Springfield.The college, which caters to working adults, marked the relocation of its Springfield campus with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning.

College President Deborah Jackson told 22News that the decision to relocate downtown was made both to provide a boost for the city, and to increase convenience for students.

College President Deborah Jackson told 22News that the decision to relocate downtown was made both to provide a boost for the city, and to increase convenience for students."This is a major move for us, to become a part of this exciting revitalization of the Springfield downtown area, to make the collage more accessible to the adults who work in this area," Jackson said.

Cambridge College has been in Springfield since 1991, and had operated from a location on Cottage Street. The move to Tower Square relocates some 300 students and 50 faculty/staff members.

Reprinted courtesy of the www.wwlp.com

Springfield Leaders Say Casino Gambling is "Game Changer" but Much More Pending for Economic Development

SPRINGFIELD - When it comes to the city's economic development outlook in 2013, competing proposals for a casino project are being called a potential "game-changer," in Springfield but far from the only game in town, according to top local officials.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Chief Development Officer Kevin E. Kennedy said the city is making great progress in pursuing a casino project, having two "first class" companies, MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming competing for the sole license available in Western Massachusetts. Each project is roughly $800 million, with MGM proposing a casino in the South End and Penn National proposing a project in the North End of the downtown district.

However, the casino effort that began last year and is continuing this year is just one major component of a multi-prong effort to promote economic development in Springfield, they said.

"The elephant in the room is obviously the casino," Sarno said. "We are fighting tooth and nail. But that hasn't sucked all the air out of it... We are going to move forward full throttle on economic development projects and public safety."

Economic development is critical for tax revenue and jobs, and the city has fared well in the face of serious financial challenges and the difficult economic climate, Sarno said.

There was significant progress last year in moving forward plans for the $78 million, multi-phase Union Station redevelopment project, Sarno and Kennedy said. In 2013, the public will see the baggage building come down and the start of redevelopment after decades of inactivity, Kennedy said.

The first phase, costing $48.6 million, is funded, including $31 million in federal money. The intermodal transportation project will include restoring the main terminal and building a 23-bay bus terminal and 400-space parking garage.

The city also expects to finalize negotiations in the near future with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, regarding millions of dollars in disaster aid to help rebuild sections of Springfield damaged by the tornado of 2011, Sarno said.

Likewise, the city is negotiating with Columbia Gas to help rebuild a downtown area that was seriously damaged in the gas explosion in November, Sarno and Kennedy said.

The city's economic development team will continue working with state, federal and regional agencies, and the private sector in moving forward initiatives such as: the $25 million redevelopment of the former Mason Square fire station and Indian Motocycle building; Court Square redevelopment efforts, including the 13-31 Elm St. block; downtown business growth and improvements in downtown lighting and safety, advancement of efforts to reconstruct Boston Road; and finishing the design for the North Main Street road reconstruction project, Sarno and Kennedy said.

There will also be a study completed that could result in plans progressing for a far-stronger physical presence by the University of Massachusetts in Springfield, they said.

The city is also committed to neighborhood revitalization, including demolition of blighted buildings, renovations of housing, and efforts to attract market rate housing and home buying, Sarno said.

Regarding casinos, the city started 2012 with just one casino proposal for $550 million, and ended the year with the two competing projects at $800 million each, officials said.

Sarno said he is "very bullish" on Springfield and believes that both residents and non-residents are also bullish. He anticipates that Springfield will work on a marketing campaign in the coming year that urges people to take a new look at Springfield.

Kennedy said key projects that are set to be completed in 2013 include a state data center at the former Technical High School building, which will be followed by road improvements in that area.

In addition, the Springfield Parking Authority is set to refinance in 2013, and will be a stronger partner in improving the downtown economic conditions.

Once disaster aid is finalized for Springfield, the city can expand efforts to build a new senior center at Blunt Park, a new South End Community Center, and other projects, Kennedy said. 

Reprinted Courtesy of The Republican

Public Radio Station WFCR's Move Will Boost Downtown Springfield

January 30, 2013-All things considered, public radio station WFCR's plan to move from its outmoded location on the campus of the University of Massachusetts to a new $7 million facility in downtown Springfield is a brilliant choice.

 We think the station's decision to become part of the daily fabric of the largest city in Western Massachusetts is good for the station - and supporters of WFCR appear to agree. The move is certainly good news for the city of Springfield - and downtown, in particular.

The New England Public Radio Foundation's Capital Campaign for WFCR has raised more than $5 million of the projected cost since it began 18 months ago.

Martin Miller, chief executive officer and general manager, said New England Public Radio is "thrilled with the success of our campaign" and encouraged people to "get involved to complete the project."

The station will mark the beginning of construction at its new facility at 1525 Main St. with a Feb. 8 ground-breaking ceremony. U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Elizabeth Cardona, director of Gov. Deval Patrick's Springfield office, are expected to joining Miller to celebrate the station's expansion.

For a long time, WFCR made do with cramped facilities on a three-floor walkup at UMass. Now with completion of the building fund and ongoing fund-raising campaign the station will be able to move to a dedicated space able to accommodate up-to-date equipment and technology, along with the space to allow new programming initiatives, for local news and commentary as well as classical and jazz programming. We welcome WFCR as it prepares to sign on in Springfield for its bold new future.

Reprinted Courtesy of The Republican

State Approves Market Rate Housing

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today that the city has received final approval from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Housing & Community Development, on Springfield's Market Rate Housing Incentive Zone and Plan. The approval allows developers to take advantage of new incentives to develop new market rate housing in and around downtown. Springfield is the fourth city in the Commonwealth to be approved for the program.

"This program is important to help fill the financial gap in developing new market rate housing units," said Mayor Sarno. "We've been working with the other Gateway Cities to move forward new programs like this and are thrilled the state has provided this program."

The new program, called the Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP), allows developers to access a new state investment tax credit of up to 10% on qualifying development costs coupled with a local property tax exemption program. To date, such incentives were only available to commercial development projects.

Page last updated:  Thursday, March 27, 2014 09:13 am