downtown Springfield

In a city where public safety consistently ranks as the top issue in public opinion polls, a veteran Springfield city councilor caused a buzz this week when he suggested people had become complacent about violence.

In an op-ed published on, Springfield City Councilor-at-large Tim Rooke called on the “silent majority” to speak up and help dismantle the violent drug gangs that he said are causing families to move out of Springfield and hurting businesses.


A study released today envisions transforming an area of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts that was rocked by a natural gas explosion two years ago into an incubator for the innovation economy.

     The study suggests a combination of improvements to public parks, sidewalks and streets in concert with investments by private building owners would be needed to transform the roughly three- block area impacted by the November 2012 explosion into an area attractive to entrepreneurs.


Congress last week, before going on a five-week recess, approved a short-term bill to pay for highway and transit projects.  The temporary funding means the Massachusetts Department of Transportation will seek bids later this month for the rehabilitation of the Interstate 91 viaduct, or elevated highway, which runs through downtown Springfield.  The project is expected to cost $260 million and take three construction seasons to complete.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill got an update on the project today from MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePoala


Plans were announced today for a unity festival this fall in Springfield, Massachusetts. Organizers hope to bring together people from throughout western Massachusetts to highlight the region’s cultural, religious, racial, and age diversity. 

The theme of the festival, scheduled for mid-October, is the promotion of social integration through song.


Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has announced nearly $84 million in funding for 24 affordable housing projects across the state. New housing in western Massachusetts includes projects in Springfield, Northampton, Greenfield, Williamstown, and Pittsfield.

Governor Patrick said the newly funded projects will create more than 1,300 apartments and over 2,000 construction jobs.  It is part of an economic development strategy that has seen his administration commit more than $1 billion to the creation of affordable housing in the last seven-and-a-half years.


A new law in Massachusetts sets a uniform standard for rating the severity of natural gas leaks and sets a timetable for making repairs.  Governor Deval Patrick publicized the new law at a ceremonial bill signing today in Springfield -- a city still scarred from a natural gas explosion two years ago.

The bill establishes natural gas leak classification standards. It requires the gas companies to repair the most dangerous leaks immediately and produce plans for the timely replacement of aging pipelines.  Repairs must be prioritized if the leak is detected in a school zone.

One of the oldest and largest businesses in western Massachusetts has launched an initiative to help small start-up companies.  MassMutual has announced the creation of the Springfield Venture Fund. It is intended to serve as a catalyst for economic growth in the state’s third largest city.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Nick Fyntrilakis, vice president of  Community Responsibility at MassMutual.

Public access television—famously skewered on Saturday Night Live and elsewhere—is no joke in one western Massachusetts community.

When the newly formed Focus Springfield Community Television officially unveiled a brand new $1 million state-of-the-art programming facility on the ground floor of one of the city’s most historic buildings, dozens of local dignitaries took part in the grand opening.

The region’s Congressman and the city’s mayor helped cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the 7,000- square foot center from which three public access channels originate.

MGM Springfield

When casinos were legalized in Massachusetts three years ago, the mayor of Springfield set off on a high-stakes bid to land a destination resort casino that could transform the city’s economically depressed downtown. Now, potentially within months of a groundbreaking for an $800 million casino, the project is in jeopardy. 

Springfield Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy says when he and Mayor Domenic Sarno first talked about the strategy for getting a casino built in the city, they told each other they would remain optimistic and prepared for whatever hurdles came along.


An attorney and veteran of several municipal boards and commissions has been tapped to head the parking authority in Springfield, Massachusetts. The appointment comes as the city is on the verge of a parking space crunch. 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announced Friday the selection of Mary McNally as the new executive director of the Springfield Parking Authority.  He called her “eminently qualified” and said the appointment is part of a new direction at the authority.