SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a dream come true for Springfield’s North End community, the neighborhood’s very own community center.

The New North Citizens Council will now receive the money to build a Neighborhood Community Center on Chestnut Street with federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

New North Citizens Council CEO Jose Claudio told 22News, how much this means to him and his neighbors in the North End, “We got it, we got the funding to do it, and it’s going to be a homerun for this neighborhood, to change the neighborhood completely.”

Mayor Domenic Sarno has been making the rounds announcing ARPA grants throughout Springfield. Sarno told 22News, he’s proud of what’s being accomplished to improve his city with this federal money.

“We helped neighborhood councils with an extra pair of eyes and ears and really the heart of our neighborhood, getting direct funding, economic development, saving jobs and creating even more jobs,” said Sarno.

Many of the leaders from Springfield’s Latino community were on hand for Thursday’s momentous beginning towards the future neighborhood community center.

The following information sent to 22News from Mayor Sarno’s Office include the new businesses, small businesses and nonprofits receiving funding:

Business NameAmount AwardedDesignation
Jackalope$50,000New BusinessAsian
SouLao’d Kitchen$75,000Small BusinessAfrican-American/Black, Asian and Woman
BarKaya$125,000Small Businesslocated within QCT
Revitalize Superfoods$60,000Small BusinessAfrican-American/Black and Woman
Iona’s Delectable Delight Catering Service$75,000Small-BusinessAfrican-American/Black
Prime-Time Nutrition$15,000Small BusinessWestern Hemisphere Hispanic and Woman
The Humming Bird Jamaican Cuisine Restaurant$75,000Small BusinessAfrican-American/Black
Fieras Bakery P.R.$60,000Small BusinessWestern Hemisphere Hispanic
Petra Café$100,000Small Businesslocated within QCT
Bumpy’s Natural and Organic Foods$75,000Small BusinessAfrican-American/Black
City Jakes Café$75,000Small BusinessWoman
Timoteo’s Grill$75,000Small BusinessWestern Hemisphere Hispanic and Woman
Russ’s Restaurant$75,000Small Businesslocated within QCT
The Boulevard$75,000Small Businesslocated within QCT
La Quinta$1,000,000Hospitality Businesslocated within QCT
Revival Time Evangelist Center / JC Williams Community Center$1,600,000Non-Profit
Springfield Boys and Girls Club$1,500,000Non-Profit

Mayor Sarno states, “I want to first thank Congressman Richard Neal for his continued leadership on behalf of the city of Springfield – once a mayor always the heart of a mayor.  Thanks to his efforts, we were able to receive this federal ARPA funding directly to our city so that we can properly assess the needs of our community that has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  My administration has done this by meeting with over 30 neighborhood councils and organizations to hear directly from them on what their needs are.  My dedicated city team has reviewed their input and based upon the needs of our community my administration continues to appropriately allocate our local ARPA monies where they are most needed to help our residents, businesses and neighborhoods recover from the COVID-19 pandemic with an emphasis on capturing and sustaining future economic development opportunities.” 

“This is now the fourth round of our local ARPA funding that my administration has rolled out to our new businesses, small businesses and nonprofits,” Mayor Sarno continued.  “As I have stated from the beginning, this is all about that good four-letter work, ‘JOBS’!  It’s about saving jobs, creating new jobs and growing our small businesses which are vital and so important for the economic health of our city.”

“The nonprofits that have been awarded do tremendous work in our community, helping thousands of people with a wide variety of services for our residents.  This COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of stress on individuals and families and it is our nonprofits that continue to step up and help.  This grant funding that my administration is allocating will go a long way to enhancing the services these nonprofits provide for our community, especially to those that have been adversely affected by this pandemic, including continuing my administration’s commitment to addressing mental health,” Mayor Sarno added.  

Of note, nearly all of City of Springfield’s ARPA RFP applications awarded have been listed as either minority and/or women owned businesses and all are eligible within the QCT.  This trend further emphasizes Mayor Sarno’s commitment to providing city ARPA RFP relief to minority and women owned businesses that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Additionally, Mayor Sarno and the city ARPA team announced three (3) ARPA awardees as part of the City of Springfield’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program and the Build Back Better Program.  Both programs work to enhance and support our neighborhoods and promote public health while also being able to sustain positive economic development opportunities and growth. 

The two awardees under the Neighborhood Revitalization Program are:

Business NameAmount AwardedDescription
New North Citizens Council$2,500,000Construction of new community center in the Memorial Square Neighborhood
Big Y$1,000,000Support the opening of a full-service grocery store in downtown Springfield

Mayor Sarno states, “The construction of the new community center in our North End neighborhood is a win-win.  This new facility will not only provide a private public health component for our community but also has the possibility for the city to capture new tax growth revenue.”

“Furthermore, I am proud to announce that Big Y will be opening a full-service grocery store in our downtown Springfield inside Tower Square,” Mayor Sarno said.  “It has been a priority for my administration to secure a world-class grocery store for the residents of our downtown neighborhood.  This move will address the food desert in the area while also enhancing our public health, housing and economic development opportunities.” 

In February 2022, Mayor Sarno, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer (CAFO) TJ Plante and Chief Development Officer (CDO) Tim Sheehan announced the $12 million investment into the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.  The program will help to ensure that neighborhood businesses and institutions, which are at the core of neighborhood life, have the resources to not simply recover from the impacts of the pandemic but to work together with the city towards ensuring our neighborhood centers and the surrounding area include sufficient housing choices, pedestrian and complete streets infrastructure, shopping and services, fresh food accessibility, health care, parks, office space, and have easy access to educational, community  and cultural programming with a focus on disproportionately impacted communities, equity and inclusion.

In November 2021, Mayor Sarno, CAFO Plante and CDO Sheehan announced the Build Back Springfield Program that will invest $15 million with a focus on recognizing the economic, environmental and cultural value of preserving older and locally significant landmark buildings and structures.  The city seeks to encourage adaptive reuse plans to revitalize buildings that complements the neighborhood while providing for new economic growth and employment opportunities.  

Worthington Street Development’s application for the Build Back Better Program has been approved and the $2.4 million awarded will support the redevelopment of the multi-building located at 250-302 Worthington Street, in heart of the city’s dinning district / restaurant row.

Mayor Sarno also announced that his administration would be allocating $1.8 million or approximately $100,000 to each of the city’s neighborhood councils for specific and qualifying neighborhood initiatives and projects. 

Mayor Sarno stated, “My dedicated city ARPA team and I met with nearly all of our neighborhood councils and civic associations as part of my administrations citywide listening tour seeking community input on our local ARPA funding initiatives.  I have heard what investments they would like to see in their respective neighborhoods and as a result will be allocating $1.8 million or approximately $100,000 to each of our neighborhood councils.  This direct funding to our neighborhood councils will greatly benefit our residents and business community.  Our neighborhood councils serve as a lifeline and direct point of contact and voice for our residents and neighborhood businesses and my administration is looking forward to working directly with them as we continue to work together to enhance our community.”    

This fourth round of ARPA RFP announcements totals over $12.8 million.  To date, over $17.1 million has been allocated to local new businesses, small business, nonprofits and neighborhood councils.  

All of the new businesses, small businesses, non-profits and neighborhood councils have been notified that their applications have been approved and have expressed their deep appreciation for being awarded. 

Mayor Sarno states, “I am pleased to announce this fourth round of ARPA RFP awards in the new business, small business and nonprofit categories.  I want to thank my dedicated ARPA team for their continued efforts throughout this RFP process.  As stated, my administration wants to get this lifeline funding out ASAP to those who have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – especially to our local nonprofits that are supporting and working to enhance access to public health and mental health services.  This access issue has been a priority of my administration and has really been exacerbated by this COVID-19 pandemic.”

“My dedicated city ARPA team and I are excited to make these ARPA RFP funding award announcements as we continue to work together with our community and neighborhood partners,” Mayor Sarno continued.  “I am proud that my administration continues to review and award these deserving ARPA applications for the benefit of our community.  These awards are just the start of many more to come from all of our seven designated categories.  I deeply appreciate these small businesses and nonprofits for their continued belief and investment in the City of Springfield, of which the vast majority are minority and/or women owned businesses.  I am also hopeful that with my administration’s continued investment of ARPA funds, that all our recipients can leverage the city’s commitment to also obtain more funding from the $5.2 billion of ARPA funding the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has to allocate too.”

ARPA Advisory Committee member and City Council President Williams stated, “I want to once again thank the ARPA team for their continued efforts in reviewing and awarding this fourth round of applications of local ARPA RFP funding.  I am especially pleased to see that the administration will be utilizing our local ARPA funding to invest in our neighborhoods and address the food desert and food insecurity challenges in our downtown neighborhood.  The City Council will continue to work with Mayor Sarno and his administration as we continue to move these applications forward and get this much-needed funding out into our community.”

ARPA Advisory Committee member and City Clerk Gladys Oyola said, “I am once again excited with the diverse group of recipients that have been awarded in this fourth round of ARPA RFP funding.  Investing in these small businesses, non-profits and in our neighborhoods is an investment in Springfield’s public health, community and economic future.”  

“I am looking forward to making additional announcements in the near future as my administration continues to move forward on our local ARPA RFP front – especially as we move to provide much-needed relief and assistance for our homeowners and seniors,” Mayor Sarno added.  “We had a very successful and well attended ARPA RFP technical assistance and workshop seminar for our seniors at the Raymond A. Jordan Senior Center and I am looking forward to working with our senior population in getting them some relief and assistance where possible.  Stay tuned for more good announcements to come in the very near future.”

The City of Springfield received $123.8 million in ARPA funding as part of the $350 billion federal American Rescue Plan Act designated for direct aid to state, local and tribal governments.  After meeting with nearly 30 neighborhood councils and other organizations as part of Mayor Sarno’s citywide listening sessions to hear directly from our residents and business community, Mayor Sarno identified seven categories in which RFP’s will be utilized to enhance projects, programs and initiatives across the city for the betterment of our residents and businesses.  They include:  Nonprofit Assistance, New Business Assistance, Small Business Assistance, Senior Citizen Assistance, Neighborhood/Household Assistance, Capital Projects/Public Space Improvements, and Job Creation/Economic Development

For more information on the City of Springfield’s ARPA RFP applications and FAQs, please visit the Department of Recovery and Business Continuity webpage at:  www.springfield-ma.gov/finance/arpa.