SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield City Council discussed an amendment to the Court Square Urban Renewal Plan, proposed by Mayor Domenic Sarno Monday in a public hearing.

The amendment would expand the area included in the renewal plan to include 192 acres, which would cover most of the downtown area. The plan is to redevelop and revitalize those designated areas that were negatively impacted by de-industrialization and the 2012 gas explosion.

The expansion would add areas east of Chestnut Street, bordered by Lyman, Spring, and Pearl Streets.
It would also elevate the significance of many historic buildings within the area.

“The city will be able to exercise influence over the types of development that are created in this district, and there are quite a few benefits to that. This will create more oversight more transparency, and it will give the public more opportunity to speak about the types of developments that are created in these areas,” said Springfield City Councilor Melvin Edwards, Chair of Economical Development.

“Throughout the pandemic Springfield has kept its eye on the future and has been steadfast in positioning itself to be ready to respond to future economic development opportunities.  This major plan amendment positions the City well in responding to developer interest an investment throughout the downtown.  It also identifies the priorities for future public infrastructure investments to enhance pedestrian activity and enliven the streetscape – ‘we will continue to visionary,’” said Mayor Sarno.

Overall, the renewal plan prioritizes ground floor activation and emphasizes pedestrian-focused public infrastructure.

If passed, the Chairman of the Springfield Redevelopment Authority say this plan will be the blueprint for revitalization for the next 28 years.