The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts this week unanimously elected Michael Fenton to be council president for an unprecedented third consecutive one-year term.

Fenton, who was the youngest person to hold the council president’s office when he was first chosen at the age of 26, spoke this week with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Mmorse addresses supporters after winning reelection

The current mayors of Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee, Massachusetts will keep their jobs for another term. WAMC's Ian Pickus gets the details from our Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.


The city is offering financial support to owners of historic buildings damaged in the 2011 tornado that tore through western Massachusetts.


Close to $10 million in local, state, and federal money has been spent in the last couple of years to construct or renovate parks of all shapes and sizes in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.  The projects have opened up new recreational opportunities, eliminated blight, and brought parks closer to the people.

Children this summer had a chance to cool off and play on a splash pad in one of Springfield’s newest parks.

  A Marine from Springfield was buried Monday after being shot and killed in Tennessee.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Representative Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that Sullivan will be warmly remembered.


A Marine killed by a gunman in Tennessee two weeks ago is being honored in his hometown in Massachusetts.


Western Massachusetts economic development officials are hoping for Olympics venues if Boston becomes host for the 2024 games.

Spirit of Springfield

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the largest holiday light snow in New England.  Bright Nights at Forest Park in Springfield features more than a dozen different light displays along a two-mile drive through the city’s largest park.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Judy Matt, president of Sprirt of Springfield, the non-profit that produces Bright Nights along with the city’s parks department.

   In our series, Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities we visit with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area and discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter.

This morning we welcome the folks from Mass Humanities to discuss – Frankenstein! Linda McInerney joins us. As Artistic Director of Old Deerfield Productions, Linda has been creating, producing, and directing performing arts for 30 years. In 2013, she commissioned a new theatrical adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (adaptation by Lindel Hart) that will be performed at the Springfield Museums, thanks to Mass Humanities, on Sept. 26 and 27.

  Springfield has been banking on casino gambling, but voters in November could overturn the law.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti, director of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that a grassroots repeal effort is gaining steam.

One note on this segment: after Alan’s conversation with Tim Vercellotti, the federal government informed Massachusetts that it would not need space to house the Central American immigrants.


A new year in municipal government began in Springfield, Massachusetts today with an historic ceremony at city hall.  The new city council and the new city council president are both “ firsts” for  Springfield

The city council sworn in Monday morning is the first in Springfield’s history where a majority of the councilors are black or Hispanic—a makeup that mirrors the city’s population which is 61 percent non-white.  The new president of the city council Mike Fenton turned 27 yesterday and is the youngest council president in the city’s history.

UMass To Detail Satellite Center In Springfield

Nov 26, 2013

The University of Massachusetts is about to establish a long-awaited physical presence in the city of Springfield.

Gov. Deval Patrick is scheduled to join UMass President Robert Caret and several other officials to announce the location of a satellite center that will open next fall in the state's third-largest city.

The facility will house academic programs affiliated with the university's flagship campus in Amherst, as well as other UMass campuses.

More details are expected to be released at a late morning news conference.

When a new city council is seated in Springfield, Massachusetts this January a majority of its 13 members will be black or Hispanic.  It is the first time in Springfield history voters elected minorities to a majority of the seats on both the city council and school committee.  City councilor Michael Fenton said he has commitments from his colleagues to be elected council president in January.  At 26 , he would be the youngest council president in the city’s history. He spoke with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill

  Before he was in Congress, Richard Neal was mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Neal discusses the legacy of a fellow mayor of Springfield with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Western Mass. Turnpike Tolls Set To Be Restored

Sep 10, 2013

Tolls will soon return for motorists traveling on the western end of the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The first of two informational hearings is scheduled for tonight on implementation of tolls between Exit 1 in West Stockbridge and Exit 6, which leads to Interstate 291 and Springfield. The meeting will be held at Lee High School.

Donkey Hotey/Flickr

A decade-old Massachusetts program that allows a property tax break for senior citizens may be introduced in the state’s third largest city.  Springfield would join several smaller cities in the region that already offer the popular program.

The Senior Tax Work-Off Program allows homeowners over the age of 60 to perform tasks for a municipality in exchange for a one-time abatement of a portion of their property tax bill.  It is offered in more than 100 cities and towns in Massachusetts including Westfield, Chicopee and Holyoke.


The  city of Springfield, Massachusetts will begin a new fiscal year on Monday July 1st with a balanced budget.  The conclusion this week of the annual budget debate in city hall left unresolved several issues that resonate beyond Springfield. 

       Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno praised the city council’s  12 to 2 vote to adopt a $572 million budget. He said it will maintain current municipal employment levels and keep core city services intact.

Non-unionized municipal employees for the city of Springfield,Massachusetts who do not live in the city could soon face an ultimatum-- move to the city or lose their jobs.

   Springfield City Council President James Ferrera, backed up by at least six of his colleagues on the 13- member council, is proposing to use the city budget as leverage in the latest attempt to put a new residency ordinance on the books.


The proposed budget for the coming fiscal year in Springfield Massachusetts is balanced with the help of $5 million from casino developer MGM.  The money was included in the budget presented by the city’s mayor even though a  Springfield casino is not guaranteed.  Casino opponents are crying foul.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno describes his proposed $571.8 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1st as a “ hold the line” budget.

MGM Springfield

City councilors in Springfield Massachusetts  appear ready to act quickly on the proposed casino development agreement with MGM Resorts International.   The casino operator wants the citywide voter referendum to take place in mid-July.  Casino opponents have little time to mount an effective campaign. 


The mayor of Springfield Massachusetts and a top official with MGM Resorts International signed a casino development deal on Wednesday.  The signing ceremony marks the start of a campaign to convince the city’s voters to ratify the agreement.


The Great American Clean Up, the nation’s largest community improvement project, is taking place today  in several places, including Springfield Massachusetts. Hundreds of volunteers will pick up trash and small debris in parks, school yards and other public ways.  One of the organizers is Mike Cass, an employee in the city’s Office of Housing. His specialty is graffiti removal. Cass is so good at it that his official business card identifies him as “The Eraser.”   Cass spoke with WAMC’s Paul Tuthill.

There will be no casino referendum in Springfield on June 25th , the same day voters  head to the polls in Massachusetts for the special Senate election.

Of the four companies competing for the lone casino license available in western Massachusetts, one has stood out when it comes to marketing.  MGM Resorts International, which hopes to build a casino in downtown Springfield, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising.


The  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded more than $21 million to the city of Springfield Massachusetts to help it recover from the June 2011 tornado. 

   Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said the money will fund specific projects detailed in the tornado recovery master plan the city produced last year.

Efforts by residents of a low- income housing cooperative in Springfield, Massachusetts to recover  from the June 2011 tornado have been dealt another setback.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development , which funded the  90- unit complex nearly 40 years ago, is weighing foreclosure.

The city of Springfield is seeking an exception to Proposition 2 ½ , the Massachusetts property tax cap law, when it comes to casinos.

   An $800 million resort casino could mean tens of millions of dollars annually in additional property taxes for Springfield.  But Mayor Domenic Sarno said the city will not get the full financial benefits from a casino development unless a change is made to Prop 2 ½.


Special masses were said in Catholic churches in the region today to mark the installation of  Pope Francis.  

   About 200 people braved a snowstorm to attend a noon mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield, where Bishop Timothy McDonnell declared it a day to rejoice.

   The mass in Springfield took place several hours after the installation mass  for the new pope was held under bright blue skies in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican . The crowd there was estimated at between 150,000- 200,000 people.


City councilors in Springfield Massachusetts have voted to reject a settlement with several banks over a foreclosure ordinance.

The vote means the city can implement the ordinance even if the banks continue to challenge its legality in the federal appeals court.  The ordinance, passed in 2011, and upheld by a federal judge last year requires banks to post a$10,000 bond to maintain and secure vacant foreclosed property.  City councilor Melvin Edwards said city taxpayers will no longer have to pay to eradicate the blight that results from foreclosure.


Community activists in several US cities are calling for changes in housing policies. They point to a shortage of affordable housing in the midst of a surplus of vacant, bank-foreclosed properties. One of  the cities where anti-poverty activists point to what they see as a housing crisis is Springfield Massachusetts.