Another public works project is planned in an historic part of downtown Springfield. It is an area of the city that has already seen close to $200 million in government investment over the last decade. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
The historic Armory-Quadrangle neighborhood will undergo aesthetic improvements beginning next fall with a project to repave streets, replace sidewalks, put in new street lights and green spaces. It is to be paid for with $1.6 million in federal money obtained as earmarks by Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal
The infrastructure improvements are planned to coincide with the completing of construction of a state government data center. The large facility, which is being built at a cost of $110 million behind a restored façade of the former Springfield Technical High School is a block from a new federal courthouse. It opened a few years ago and was built at a cost of $50 million
The Armory Quadrangle neighborhood includes the Springfield Armory, which is a National Park and Historic Site. The neighborhood is also home to museums, the city’s central library, and the headquarters of both the Roman Catholic and Episcopal church dioceses of western Massachusetts.
There are also condominiums and upscale apartment buildings. Jerry Enright of the neighborhood civic association says the government investment has had a positive impact.
Because the museums on the quadrangle and the armory bring a lot of visitors to the city, its a place where Springfield must look its best, according to Mayor Domenic Sarno.
The final aesthetic improvements will culminate a ten year plan according to Springfield’s Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy.
The project has brought more employment to the area and private investments. A new museum of Springfield history was opened in a former office building after it was renovated at cost of close to $10 million.
The state government data center will bring about 50 jobs to the neighborhood. The facility is a high performance, state of the art energy efficient computer center that is essential to the operations of almost every aspect of Massachusetts state government from collecting taxes to issuing drivers licenses. It will consolidate more than 150 other data storage facilities scattered around the state.