SPRINGFIELD — As Mayor Domenic Sarno begins his sixth term as mayor, he shared his goals for the new term and plans for the city of Springfield with Reminder Publishing.

First and foremost, Sarno’s No. 1 priority continues to be public safety. The three areas he would particularly like to focus on are continuing to enhance community relations, continuing with the street attack and continuing to have a smooth transition with the Department of Justice.

He shared that he would continue to work with state Rep. Angelo Puppolo Jr. (D-Springfield) on the bail reform bill to keep repeat violent offenders off the street.

Sarno said he would also like to continue his community stakeholder meetings with nonprofits, clergy and police officials, which he said have been “beneficial.”

Another one of his goals is to keep finances strong and sustainable.

“Jobs — I want to build upon the $5 billion that we already have to create new jobs,” Sarno said.
Regarding housing, Sarno recognized that there is an ongoing crisis throughout the state. He shared that he is hopeful to have another 500-600 units with a workforce development and market supportive housing on line in the next two to three years.

Ground has already been broken in the South End which will be housing, along with the “old, decrepit” Firestone building that will soon be opening as workforce development housing. Sarno added that 31 Elm St. and Court Square market rate housing will also open soon.

“That is a big thing on continuing to move on housing stuff and home ownership,” Sarno said.

On the education side, he shared, “I’m going to keep building new schools and rehabbing schools.” This includes a new state-of-the-art German Gerena School that will be built in Springfield’s North End neighborhood, following approval from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

The new Gerena School project will bring the total amount invested into building new schools and renovating existing ones in Springfield to over $1 billion — the most in the state.

For the parks, Sarno recognized the “wonderful job” Springfield Parks Director Patrick Sullivan has done to enhance the parks, with over $110 million received to make improvements to new and existing ones.
This year, Sarno said he is looking forward to some infrastructure projects such as the traffic reconfiguration of the X.

The State Street crosswalk construction will start in the spring and the MassMutual Center garage will hopefully be going up in the fall, at the latest.

A project Sarno has been lobbying hard for is the new Roderick L. Ireland Courthouse. “We lobbied hard enough where it’s [going to] stay in Springfield — that was No. 1,” he said. Now, the question is where the courthouse will go.

Sarno believes that the relocation of a new courthouse to the north riverfront area “would be a game changer for the city of Springfield.”

Additionally, he said it would address a wide variety of needs such as parking and public transportation aspects, establish restaurant and boutique shops, create jobs, along with a proposed marina.

Another project in the works is the former Eastfield Mall. Sarno explained that it will be the “reimagination of a mall” with multi purposes, including housing, business and retail. He said he is hoping that they can soon announce the “major anchor” that will be going in there.

As returning and new members joined the School Committee and City Council, Sarno said, “I look forward to it. I think we’ve already seen it’s been a better working relationship.”

He noted that he has a good working relationship with the School Committee, as well as the majority of the City Council. “That doesn’t mean we have to agree all the time and I don’t mind constructive criticism,” Sarno said.

He concluded, “We’ve accomplished a lot. Is there more to be done, yeah. Are we perfect? Am I perfect? No. But when you look at the track record, there’s a lot of stuff that’s been done — especially coming off natural and man-made disasters.”