SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – After the completed construction of the Watershop dam in Springfield, Mayor Domenic Sarno and city officials announced Lake Massasoit is ready to be refilled.

In the fall of 2020, the pond had to be drawn down so emergency repairs could be made on that dam in order to prevent flooding in neighborhoods downstream. New gates and upgrades to the controls were among the improvements made costing about $3.2 million.

For the water to reach normal elevation levels it will take 15 to 45 days, according to a news release from the office of Mayor Sarno.

The previous upgrades to Watershops Dam included:

  • Sluice gates
  • Bascule gate
  • Hydraulic system
  • Control box upgrades
  • Improved modern access to the control system.

Mayor Sarno states, “I want to thank my dedicated city team, especially our Springfield Parks Commission, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management Patrick Sullivan, Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan, Capital Asset Construction Director Peter Garvey, and Director of Disaster Recovery and Compliance Tina Quagliato-Sullivan.  Special thanks to Congressman Richard Neal for his continued leadership on the federal level in helping to identify federal funding for this vital infrastructure project.  With construction now complete, we can begin the process of returning this beautiful lake to its original and serene atmosphere offering beautiful ascetic quality for our residents, Springfield College, and abutting businesses.”

Upon completion of the pond, the City of Springfield and the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife are to reload the pond.

“Springfield has long been on the cutting edge of climate change and disaster preparedness.  Since enduring two federally declared disasters in 2011, my administration has adopted a Climate Action and Resilience Plan and initiated several programs related to community resiliency,” Mayor Sarno added.  “This project meets two goals set by my administration.  First, it removes Watershops Dam from the state’s High Hazard category, which also threatens our South End and Maple High Six Corners neighborhoods should the dam fail, much like what we did with the repairs to the Lower Van Horn Park Dam last year that threatened Baystate Hospital and our Hungry Hill and North End neighborhoods.  Additionally, this project implemented green energy-efficient measures by installing solar panels at the Brookings School.  In the future, this school can be used as an emergency shelter due to the electricity produced by the solar panels.  Successful implementation of these repairs brings Springfield significantly closer to creating a more resilient community prepared to face the challenges of climate change.”