People in Springfield, Massachusetts reflected Sunday on the third anniversary of the tornado that left a major scar on the city. While officials say they are proud of the recovery process, they acknowledge more work is ahead.
New homes are under construction in the low-income Maple High-Six Corners neighborhood in keeping with a master plan painstakingly put together in the months after the June 1, 2011 tornado. A new elementary school is under construction to replace one destroyed by the storm. Thousands of new trees have been planted.
Sunday marks the third anniversary of the most powerful storm to strike Massachusetts in a half-century, an EF-3 rated tornado that killed three people, injured dozens more, and damaged or destroyed 2,000 buildings between Springfield and Sturbridge. Rebuilding in the city of Springfield has been aided by about $100 million in federal and state funds.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to pay Springfield, Massachusetts $25 million for the destruction of public property by the 2011 tornado. It is a final settlement that city officials worked relentlessly to obtain.
Several of the western Massachusetts communities that were in the path of almost unimaginable destruction one year ago today will hold remembrance events. It will be an opportunity to reflect on the one year anniversary of the worst tornado to hit the state in a half-century and also to look toward what many hope will be a brighter future. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.