The executive director of the Norwalk, Connecticut Redevelopment Agency has been tapped to be the Chief Development Officer in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno Wednesday announced the hiring of Timothy Sheehan as the person who will be responsible for the nuts and bolts of keeping the city’s economic development machinery moving.
During Sheehan’s 17-year tenure in Norwalk he had a direct role in over 40 development projects worth more than $700 million.
Sheehan is a Springfield native. He and Sarno worked together briefly at City Hall during the administration of Mayor Mary Hurley in the early 1990s.
"We share that common vision that is not just about making development happen, but what that development can do for the community as a whole," said Sheehan.
He will succeed Kevin Kennedy, who on Monday announced plans to retire. During Kennedy’s eight-year tenure Springfield tallied $4 billion in public and private investment and major projects including a new downtown casino and transportation center.
"We are going to have a smooth transition and we are going to continue the momentum," said Sarno.
In a statement announcing the selection of Sheehan, Sarno pointed to his work in overseeing several mixed use housing developments, including the largest one in Norwalk’s history – a 1.5 million square foot development called Waypointe that features more than 660 luxury apartments, restaurants, and retailers.
Also highlighted was Sheehan’s work with city neighborhoods to remove blight and rebuild after Superstorm Sandy.
Speaking with reporters, Sheehan was asked about his priorities for economic development in Springfield.
"Obviously, the mayor has an ambitous development agenda for downtown, but I am also looking at how we can continue to work to strengthen the neighborhoods in the city and the housing stock that exists within those neighborhoods," said Sheehan.
Several prominent Springfield business leaders were at City Hall to hear the announcement. Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber said Sheehan’s resume in Norwalk and his familiarity with Springfield are an appealing balance.
"I think ( Springfield) has a lot in common with Norwalk and what I've heard of his experience I think it fit nicely and dovetail with everything goig on in Springfield and build on what Kevin Kennedy has done, " said Creed.
Sheehan will take over as the head of Springfield’s Office of Planning and Economic Development on July 8.