Date: September 24–29, 2006
Location: Springfield, MA
Sponsor: the city of Springfield, the Springfield Finance Control Board, the Springfield
Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, MassDevelopment, and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.
Chair: Maureen McAvey
Subject Area: Sustainable Development, Downtown Revitalization, Economic Development
Summary of Recommendations:
The city of Springfield, Massachusetts asked the ULI Advisory Services panel to address specific issues confronting the city and present possible solutions for improvement. The panel saw potential for Springfield’s downtown to become the urban center of the Pioneer Valley region, and a great place to live, work, and play. But for this to occur, leadership at the highest levels and across all sectors – public, private, and community – would have to commit and engage positively for Springfield’s success.
Outstanding work had been done by the Springfield Finance Control Board (SFCB) and it was important for it to continue working with the city to strengthen Springfield’s financial position. The downtown of Springfield had enormous potential, with its architecturally diverse and historic core, to become a major regional attraction. The panel came up with various catalytic projects that would be of high development priority. The Court Square building was re-imagined as great mixed-use facility with market-rate housing and ground-floor retail. Another important project would be the adaptive reuse of the Old Federal Building on Main Street. These projects, and the demolition of dilapidated York Street Jail, would improve downtown’s appearance within a short period of time. Focus would also be directed to the South End neighborhood, with emphasis on the Gemini-Hollywood area. Changes and restorations made here would be the catalyst needed for neighborhood revitalization all throughout Springfield. No other city or town in proximity possessed Springfield’s breadth of cultural offerings, historic built environment, or architectural fabric. Therefore these panel recommendations would go a long way in making a good city great.