A new session of the Springfield City Council began Monday with the swearing in of its most diverse board in the city’s history. The council also unanimously elected Michael Fenton as president, the youngest ever in Springfield to hold the office.
Fenton just turned 27 on Sunday. In his inauguration speech, he promised a busy year of legislating. Among his top priorities will be redesigning Interstate 91 to reconnect the city with the Connecticut River, and reconstituting a citizen-led police commission with more authority and autonomy than it currently has.
“The intent is that it will result in greater community participation and accountability within the city of Springfield and its police department,” Fenton says.
Fenton also wants to create two new committees to look at ways of generating more revenue, as well as keeping young professionals in Springfield. Newly sworn-in Councilor Justin Hurst says bringing young families like his back to the city is critical if Springfield is to ever move forward.
“Young professional are not going to come if their appearance of Springfield is not safe. Young professionals are not going to come if there are no jobs. Young professionals are not going to come to the city if it’s not vibrant,” Hurst says.
Committee appointments are expected to be announced on Tuesday.