Tornado Rebuild Master Plan Applauded
By Paul Tuthill
Springfield, MA – The early reviews are mostly enthusiastic for the tornado rebuild master plan in Springfield. But the fine print details of the plan have yet to be disclosed. WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports..
Armando Feliciano's home was destroyed by the June 1st tornado in Springfield. As he prepares to move his family out of a trailer and into their newly constructed house in the East Forest Park neighborhood he sees the city's newly unveiled master plan is channeling great loss into something good.
Feliciano, who is also chairman of the Springfield Revelopment Authority, a partner in creating the master plan, says just as the construction of his new house had it's ups and downs, so will the implementation of the plan, but he's confident there will be a good outcome.
The executive summary of the tornado rebuild master plan proposes steps to improve the quality of life in the East Forest Park neighborhood, where significant repair work has occured over the last 8 months. The plan calls for enhancing parks and open space and rebuilding schools.
Jackie Broadway, who lost the use of her home for four and a half months , was thrilled to see the plan endorse reforestation in the 16 Acres Neighborhood.
More extensive construction work is proposed in other parts of the city devastated by the tornado. In the downtrodden Maple High-Six Corners neighborhood, the plan calls for a realignment of the very traffic intersection that gives the neighborhood its name. The plan proposes numerous streetscape improvements, and the reuse of vacant lots for new housing and small business development. Carl Yates, paster of the Revival Time Evangalistic Center was very excited by the proposals made public Tuesday night.
The plan proposes a new traffic intersection be constructed as a gateway to the South End, the commercial and residential district just south of Springfield's downtown, where the tornado disrupted dozens of small businesses, destroyed hundreds of apartments, flattened a community center, and a day care center. The plan proposes a restaurant row along South Main Street, and new owner-occupied housing on the side streets. The new neighoborhood community center would be built at a different location.
The recommendations were strongly endorsed by Leo Florian, present of the South End Citizens Council.
Officials acknowledge the obvious, that the plan is worthless without the wherewithal to implement it. An economic analysis of how some of the projects might be paid for will be included in the fully detailed plan that is to be published in about a week. The non-profit, Develop Springfield, which is expected to take the lead in implementing the rebuilding plan is going to add staff .