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Mon September 19, 2011
Consulting Firm Selected To Guide Tornado Rebuilding
By Paul Tuthill
Springfield, MA – A firm headquartered in the city hit by one of the nation's worst natural disasters, Hurricane Katrina, has been selected to help guide the tornado rebuilding effort in Springfield Massachusetts. WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports..
The New Orleans based planning and design firm, Concordia, has been hired to lead the creation of a master plan for the tornado impacted areas of Springfield. Bobbie Hill of Concordia will lead a team with experience in disaster recovery projects in such places as Haiti, New Orleans, Gulf Port Mississippi, and Greensburg Kansas, which was devastated by a tornado more powerful than the one that hit Springfield.
Hill said it was an honor to be hired as the consultant to the non profit group Develop Springfield, which has partnered with the quasi-public Springfield Redevelopment Authority to manage the tornado rebuilding effort. The master plan is due by the end of the year.
The June First tornado , which the National Weather Service rated as an EF-3, with wind speeds up to 160 miles per hour, traveled six point two miles on the ground across Springfield. It cut a quarter mile wide swath, damaging or destroying homes, businesses, parks, churches, schools, and historic structures. Hill said input for the rebuilding plan would be sought from the entire city.
A 15 member advisory committee appointed by Mayor Domenic Sarno held a series of public hearings in tornado impacted neighborhoods over the summer. A member of the committee, Rev. Bruce Shaw, says people identified a number of priorities.
Concordia was chosen out of six consulting teams that applied for the job. Nicholas Fyntralakis of Develop Springfield said the firm was hired because of its experience and willingness to engage the community in the planning process.
The master plan will cost between 500 thousand and 700 thousand dollars and will be paid for from public and private sources.. The city of Springfield is putting up 100 thousand dollars. 250 thousand dollars is coming from the US Economic Development Administration. An application has been made for planning funds contained in a supplemental state budget for tornado relief.