$21.9 Million In Federal Disaster Aid Coming To Springfield

More than $29 million dollars in federal disaster aid is coming to Massachusetts to help recovery efforts from a series of severe storms in 2011.  Springfield will get the lion’s share – nearly $22 million – as the city tries to rebuild from the June tornado and October snowstorm of nearly two years ago. The money is part of the $514 million that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is allocating to nine states to support long-term disaster recovery efforts. Kevin Kennedy, Springfield’s Chief Economic Development Officer, says he anticipates a similar amount of money will eventually be added to the total from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, all slated towards high priority capital projects around the city. They include a new South End Community Center, a senior citizens center in Blunt Park, and the reconstruction of a mile-long stretch of Boston Road, one of the city’s most heavily traveled commercial corridors.
“It has one of the highest safety hazard intersections, at Parker and Boston Road, in the Commonwealth. And also the Eastfield Mall area and the mall across the street, those are critical tax bases for the city of Springfield. And we need to keep them in good shape and functioning well. And whatever we can do from the city perspective out in the roadway, it’s important.”
Kennedy says projects are in various stages of design, and he expects the Boston Road project to get underway by July 1st. A spokesman for Housing and Urban Development says the state will determine where the additional $7 million coming to Massachusetts will be spent. Vermont is also slated to receive nearly $18 million to help recover from the effects of Hurricane Irene.