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Springfield Preparing to Rebuild, Again

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –People have been left homeless, businesses remain boarded up.  Assessing the damage Friday’s explosion left behind has kept city officials busy.

According to Springfield’s Chief Development Kevin Kennedy, patching up is a process Springfield has become all too familiar with. “That comes from the fact that we had the three natural disasters last year and, sadly, we know what we’re doing. But on the upside, we know what we’re doing so we can get back on out feet that much quicker,” Kennedy said.

So far, three businesses have been condemned, along with 47 residences. Leaving all that space vacant for too long is not an option. “I had another meeting this afternoon where we’re going to start talking about how our approach is going to be, once we define our ideas, we’re meeting with the mayor to talk about what we can do, Basically you need to come up with a plan and operating aspect of how you can do it,” he shared.

Buildings like Square One have been condemned. Meanwhile the Tire Track Automotive Center across the street might still be salvageable. Even though they are still in the cleanup phase, it’s not too early to start thinking about the new businesses that can come to downtown Springfield.

“We may be looking at some type of housing component, thinking about the satellite campus for UMass going there, maybe we need to think about some type of office development I mean, everything is on the table right now, but the plan will dictate what we can and can’t do,” Kennedy stated.

Nothing can be done until everything is cleaned up and all blockades are removed. Businesses who want to return downtown can do so. However, Building Commissioner Steve Desiliets doesn’t think Scores will, mainly because of legal and zoning issues.

Kennedy is meeting with Mayor Domenic Sarno tomorrow to discuss a plan.

Once they agree on one, they’ll start searching for a developer.

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