In an April 1 announcement, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno awarded $12 million in American Rescue Plan Act money for the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund.
Reminder Publishing submitted photo

SPRINGFIELD — A total of $12 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding was awarded by the city of Springfield for the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund for the betterment and sustainability of local businesses and community projects.

During an April 1 announcement, Mayor Domenic Sarno allocated award funds for the Old Hill and Upper Hill Neighborhoods with money directed toward continued recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic but also to assist those and their surrounding areas in partnering with the city to focus positively on disproportionately impacted communities, equity and inclusion by safeguarding infrastructure, housing and consumer services.

“I am proud of my administration’s efforts to support our neighborhood councils and enhance our infrastructure and the quality of life for our residents,” Sarno said. “This Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund follows up on my administration’s numerous listening tour sessions and neighborhood walks on how best to use our local allocation of ARPA funds to support these quality-of-life neighborhood infrastructure projects.”

Taking part in the announcement on Wilbraham Road before members of the community were Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan, Neighborhood Services Director Ed Whitley, Director of Disaster Recovery and Compliance Tina Quagliato Sullivan, DPW Director Chris Cignoli and DPW Engineer Sam Darwich.

Sarno offered his thanks to Old Hill Neighborhood Council Barbara Gresham and to Adrienne Osborn, president of the Upper Hill Residents Council as well as the residents themselves for their work with his administration to help advance the project.

“Some of this work has already begun and we are eager to continue uplifting and enhancing our neighborhoods,” he said.

Funding will be directed towards the completion of street infrastructure as well as enhancements for park and pedestrian access.

More than $500,000 has been allocated for Old Hill pedestrian safety improvement upgrades, including sidewalk repairs, improved pedestrian signage and crosswalks, as well as the planting and trimming of trees to improve pedestrian safety and visibility.

Areas to be addressed include Hancock, Alden and Union streets, Mason Square and Eastern Avenue.

Over $700,000 is earmarked as part of the Upper Hill Safety Pedestrian Improvement Project which will address sidewalks currently in disrepair, tree related hazards, signage and traffic calming measures. New sidewalks will be installed on Norfolk Street near the Adams Park entrance. An additional $550,000 in ARPA NERF funding will be put toward improvements at Adams Park to address safety concerns, parking and handicap accessibility. An additional crosswalk at Waltham and Wilbraham roads is being funded with $229,000 in Community Development Block Grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“The installation of new sidewalks, shade trees and improved signage and handicap accessibility is important for our residents and local businesses. Additionally, the area will benefit from the enhanced safety and accessibility at Adams Park in the Upper Hill neighborhood,” Sarno said.

The projects were developed through the collaboration of neighborhood walks with community members and city officials.

Sarno’s administration has made similar awards previously, including funding in 2022 for the Old Hill and Upper Hill areas.

In October 2023, the Sarno administration awarded more than $2.2 million in ARPA money for the benefit of NERF.

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