SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Awards of $4-million in grant money has been awarded to 44 municipalities across Massachusetts, but not Springfield.
The area’s largest city hasn’t received any funding from the state, causing the City Council to seek action. The City of Springfield’s DPW submitted two project proposals, both were rejected, so now the City Council is appealing that decision.
“The decision-makers in Boston forget that we exist and this is just another example of that,” Springfield Councilor Orlando Ramos expressed to 22News.
$5 million in grant money is being allocated by MassDOT for the Shared Streets and Spaces program, which helps towns and cities in Massachusetts enhance outdoor spaces during the pandemic. Springfield’s proposed projects would expand sidewalks and calm traffic in one area of downtown Springfield and the McKnight neighborhood in hopes of promoting outdoor dining or shopping.
Ramos told 22News they’re appealing the state’s decision because local businesses have struggled enough.
“They are looking for an opportunity to contribute to the tax base,” Ramos said. “They want to rehire their employees they want to expand their business reopen their businesses and this type of grant would have been able to assist them in doing that.”
According to Ramos, the state cited the timeline of the project problematic. The Shared Spaces grant is meant for quick launch and build projects, however, he feels the projects would get done in time.
The City Council submitted their appeal to Governor Charlie Baker’s office and MassDOT for reconsideration.
They will also be applying for the next round of grants as well.