The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced it will make low-interest disaster loans available to businesses and residents affected by last months’ natural gas explosion in downtown Springfield. WAMC”s Paul Tuthill reports
The SBA is making the help available in response to a request by Governor Deval Patrick for a disaster declaration. The explosion, which leveled a strip club, damaged buildings in a 3 square block area of the downtown entertainment district. Although a majority of businesses reopened within a few days, weeks later, people were still staying away from restaurants and bars according to Don Courtemanche of the Springfield Business Improvement District.
City officials stress the area is safe and all streets have reopened. The explosion was blamed on a mistake by a gas company worker.