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100 Days Later, Rebuilding Continues

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — It’s been 100 days since the June 1 tornado devastated the area. A lot has been accomplished as far as rebuilding. While a lot has yet to be done, Springfield leaders aren’t letting anything get in the way of bringing the city back better and stronger.

Just after the tornado, Springfield streets were filled with debris. A hundred days later, they’re often filled with construction vehicles.

That’s how Gerald Hayes of the Springfield Redevelopment Authority describes the progress.

“What do you see today?” asked Hayes. “You see recovery in action. So, if there’s one message that we want to convey to you today, it’s that Springfield is in full-blown recovery.”

Rebuilding the city though is far from over.

And Mayor Domenic Sarno and other leaders don’t want to miss out on the unique opportunity to reinvent the city overall with the advice of a master city planner. But this costs money that is not easily available.

“FEMA does not offer planning dollars so that has already been exhausted,” said Nick Fyntrilakis of Develop Springfield. “There is some federal dollars under the CDBG, community development block grant program for disaster recovery programming. Those dollars have not been appropriated as present due to some of the budget challenges in Washington.”

The group, Develop Springfield, is a non-profit raising money from businesses and private individuals to help the speed up the rebuilding process by hiring a planner among other things.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is on board saying government money will come eventually. But he isn’t waiting for it to get started.

“If we have to issue grants, revenue anticipation notes for pending money coming in, I will do that in working with the council,” said Sarno.

“Other disaster areas across the country, many times, you saw the people , “Woe is me. What do we do now? Where is the federal government? Where is the state government? I didn’t wait. We didn’t wait. That wasn’t the right thing to do,” said Sarno.

Within two weeks, the city expects to announce which firm will develop the master plan.

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