SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday on Central Street in Springfield.
It marks the start of four new homes in an area on the road to recovery, as well as the revitalization of what’s called the ‘Gateway to Downtown Springfield.’
The site will be developed by Viva Development, a minority owned company with the backing of $800,000 from the city.
“We are at a tax levy ceiling. We try to be fair and respectful to residents and businesses, but anytime that you can put market rate and owner-occupied homes here is good for the neighborhood, but it’s also good for the bottom line of the city,” says Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
The construction of new homes has already been succesful on the other side of Central – reversing a trend that City Councilor Melvin Edwards says was troubling.
“Over the years, the number of homeowners have actually declined to a point where it didnt actually equate to the descrioption of what a healthy neighborhood would be, so this is actually pointing us in the opposite direction,” Edwards explains.
Much of the neighborhood was badly damaged in the June 2011 tornado.
Fixing up the Maple High-Six Corners neighborhood will also help deal with safety issues.
Resdients like Linda Bartlett says the new homes will be symbolic of the recovery
“It means that our enighborhood is coming back and that our hard work and our ideas have been listened to by the city,” says Bartlett.
Mayor Sarno says once the homes are occupied, they will add a much needed boost to the city’s tax base