1. Articles from Peter Goonan | pgoonan@repub.com

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    1. Springfield Planning Board recommends zone change for hotel, apartment tower at Kittredge site

      Springfield Planning Board recommends zone change for hotel, apartment tower at Kittredge site

      The Planning Board voted unanimously on Wednesday to recommend a zone change for the Kittredge block at Liberty Street and East Columbus Avenue, to allow the owners to pursue plans to raze the site and construct a hotel and apartment tower. There was no opposition to the proposal to change the zone from Business B to Business C, during a public hearing at City Hall.

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    2. A 'wonderful campus': $13.4 million regional fire training academy opens in Springfield

      A 'wonderful campus': $13.4 million regional fire training academy opens in Springfield

      Lt. Gov. Karyn E. Polito, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, state Senate President Stan Rosenberg and Massachusetts Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan were among the speakers during a dedication ceremony at the state-of-the art fire services center that will serve the training needs of area fire departments. Coan said the new training facility on Grochmal Avenue is a "wonderful campus" and represents a great partnership between the city and state. It will greatly improve training opportunities, access and convenience for area firefighters who previously had to take the long trip to Stow for their training needs, Coan said.

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    3. Springfield City Council reduces tax rates for homeowners, businesses, but average home bill will rise

      Springfield City Council reduces tax rates for homeowners, businesses, but average home bill will rise

      Robert Greeley, a member of the tax rate committee, said the 17 cent decrease for businesses goes toward creating a more welcoming environment for business growth which can expand property taxes and help all taxpayers. Board of Assessors Chairman Richard Allen said the total tax levy for this year is $181.9 million, an increase of $5.8 million over last year's levy, which represents a 2.5 percent increase in the tax levy allowed under Proposition 2½ plus new growth. The tax rate is being resolved in November for the first time in decades, officials said. The rate ...

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    4. Springfield health board considers review of biomass project after state courts uphold plant

      Springfield health board considers review of biomass project after state courts uphold plant

      Palmer Renewable Energy is proposing the plant at Cadwell Drive and Page Boulevard. The proposal has drawn significant controversy in recent years, including revocation of a special permit and building permits by the City Council and Zoning Board of Appeals and three successive state court rulings in favor of the plant. The state Land Court, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Judicial Court all ruled in favor of the project.

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      Mentions: Palmer Springfield
    5. Springfield, state officials laud $72 million 'transformation' of South End's Outing Park Apartments

      Springfield, state officials laud $72 million 'transformation' of South End's Outing Park Apartments

      Local and state officials including Gov. Charlie Baker joined a gathering in the South End on Thursday to laud the completion of a $72 million rehabilitation of the Outing Park Apartments that was credited with bringing back the historic luster of that area known as Hollywood. Officials including Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and the developer, Gordon Pulsifer, president and chief executive officer of First Resource Companies, spoke of the past when that area was filled with deterioration, blight and crime, and of the "transformation" that now exists with renovated apartments and grounds, security cameras and support programs for residents.

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    6. Former Chestnut Junior High School site: Rhode Island company bids to build $27.5 million housing-retail project

      Former Chestnut Junior High School site: Rhode Island company bids to build $27.5 million housing-retail project

      A Rhode Island company has submitted a proposal to buy the cleared, vacant Chestnut Junior High School property in the North End for construction of an estimated $27.5 million housing-retail project. Pariseault Builders Inc., of Warwick, R.I., was the only company submitting a proposal to buy and redevelop the city-owned site, located on Chestnut Street by last week's deadline.

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    7. Mayor Domenic Sarno: Talks underway with PawSox ownership on interest in Springfield

      Mayor Domenic Sarno: Talks underway with PawSox ownership on interest in Springfield

      The Pawtucket Red Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, is searching for a new home and recently ended their effort to pursue a waterfront location for a new stadium proposed in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, according to published reports. Sarno, during Tuesday's meeting with The Republican and MassLive editors and reporters, said he could see a Triple-A Red Sox stadium becoming an anchor in the North End, and the MGM Springfield casino project being the anchor in the South End, with a redeveloped Union Station in between the two projects. "We are having conversations and we ...

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    8. $12 million Blunt Park senior center plan applauded by Springfield senior citizens, officials

      $12 million Blunt Park senior center plan applauded by Springfield senior citizens, officials

      After two decades of anticipation, residents and city officials gathered Tuesday to unveil final plans and to announce the city is advertising for bids for the construction of a $12 million senior center at Blunt Park. A 25,000-square-foot senior center is planned at the park on Roosevelt Avenue and will l include space for a banquet room, kitchen, special events, dance, library, billiards, sewing, ceramics, carpentry, music and computer access among other activities, officials said.

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    9. MGM Springfield: Market rate housing will move to former School Department building

      MGM Springfield: Market rate housing will move to former School Department building

      MGM Springfield announced Monday its plans for market rate downtown housing will move to the former School Department building at 195 State St. MGM Resorts International President Bill Hornbuckle made the announcement on the steps of the vacant building with other MGM and city officials. The conversion of the building calls for 30 to 35 units, and were hailed by local officials including Mayor Domenic J. Sarno..

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    10. Possibility of Pawtucket Red Sox coming to Springfield gets lukewarm reception from city officialsCity of

      Possibility of Pawtucket Red Sox coming to Springfield gets lukewarm reception from city officialsCity of

      Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said he is open to the idea of Springfield once again being a home for a professional baseball team. Sarno said Monday that any chance for the Red Sox to bring the Red Sox Triple-A team to Springfield would be contingent on addressing financial and location issues. There have not been any discussions with Red Sox executives and the city has not pursued talks, officials said. "I would love to have a Triple-A Boston Red Sox team here," Sarno said. "If they want to foster some formal discussions, obviously I'm open. Financially, logistically, it would ...

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    11. Springfield City Council grants tax break for Falvey Linen Supply; 100 jobs pledged

      Springfield City Council grants tax break for Falvey Linen Supply; 100 jobs pledged

      The City Council approved a five-year tax incentive for Falvey Linen Supply on Monday that ties in to the Rhode Island company's plans for a $7 million plant on Brookdale Drive in East Springfield and the creation of 100 full-time jobs. "We're thrilled to welcome yet another company to Springfield," council President Michael Fenton said Tuesday. "We look forward to seeing these 100 jobs with a hiring preference for Springfield residents to give a boost to our local economy."

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      Mentions: Springfield
    12. Springfield City Council to consider tax incentives for new $95 million subway car factory

      Springfield City Council to consider tax incentives for new $95 million subway car factory

      The City Council will consider approving a special tax incentive agreement with a company planning to build a $95 million subway car factory on Page Boulevard that could save the firm an estimated $10 million in property taxes spread over a 10-year period. The council will consider the proposed 10-year tax increment financing (TIF) agreement at its Monday night meeting. The meeting begins at 7 p.m., at City Hall. The tax incentive is being proposed based in part on the economic development benefits, new jobs, and new taxes the project will generate for Springfield, according to city officials.

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    13. Mass. Department of Transportation to seek bids for North End Main Street reconstruction project

      Mass. Department of Transportation to seek bids for North End Main Street reconstruction project

      The estimated $6 million, state-funded project will extend along Main Street from Osgood Street to the Chicopee city line. In connection with the project, the City Council has scheduled a special meeting on Thursday to consider allocating $48,750 for 118 land taking easements along the project corridor. The meeting is at noon, at the council chambers at City Hall.

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    14. Springfield Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association sponsors mayoral forum

      Springfield Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association sponsors mayoral forum

      The public is invited to attend a candidates forum Thursday, Aug. 20, featuring the contestants for mayor of Springfield, to be held at the Classical Condominiums at 235 State St. The event begins at 6:30 p.m., with a "meet and greet" with the candidates, followed by the program at 7. The event is sponsored by the Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association.

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    15. Springfield seeks redevelopment of now-cleared former Chestnut Junior High School site

      Springfield seeks redevelopment of now-cleared former Chestnut Junior High School site

      Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, during a press conference at the vacant lot, said that an arson fire is September of 2013, which left the long-vacant school in rubble, led to the city taking the critical steps of demolition, removal of foundations, and environmental cleanup. "The silver lining is now you have a property ready to go," Sarno said. "The property is clean now, and its four acres in a very strategic area of the city. Before development was very cost-prohibitive with the building that was here and all the infrastructure underground work that had to be done."

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    16. MGM Springfield moving ahead with casino development following Gaming Commission votes

      MGM Springfield moving ahead with casino development following Gaming Commission votes

      Votes by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission regarding the MGM Springfield casino project have paved the way for MGM to finalize its formal plans and prepare for final clearing of the site, officials said. "We will start to see demolition and construction ramp up as we move into the fall," said Kevin Kennedy, the city's chief development officer. "We had to be patient as we approached the regulatory issues that come with an $800 million development."

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    17. Environmental activists urge state to lift cap on solar energy subsidy program

      Environmental activists urge state to lift cap on solar energy subsidy program

      Area environmental advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday as part of a 10-city "Soak Up the Sun" tour to urge the state to lift a cap on a solar energy subsidy program. Those taking part in the tour included Ben Hellerstein, state director of Environment Massachusetts, who said the cap on "net metering" is threatening the growth of solar power and new solar energy projects in many communities. Net metering allows solar owners – businesses, local governments, nonprofits and other groups – to receive "fair credit for the electricity they provide back to the grid," Hellerstein said.

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    18. New Forest Park building for Bright Nights storage, job training now needs $1.7 million in city funds to proceed

      New Forest Park building for Bright Nights storage, job training now needs $1.7 million in city funds to proceed

      Plans for a new building at Forest Park to house a technical skills training facility and for storage of the Bright Nights holiday lighting display will cost far more than expected, triggering a request for $1.7 million in city funds. The City Council will consider the $1.7 million city bond request at its meeting Monday night, as sought by Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. The meeting begins at 7 p.m., at City Hall.

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    19. Springfield developer pays $167,555 in taxes, interest, fees on downtown hotel, restaurant

      Springfield developer pays $167,555 in taxes, interest, fees on downtown hotel, restaurant

      A developer planning a new Holiday Inn Express at the Epiphany Tower building on lower State Street paid $167,555 in current and delinquent real estate taxes, interest and fees on two properties Wednesday, with the hotel project set to resume next week. Representatives of Jhanvi Hospitality LLC, of Lexington, paid the taxes and fees at City Hall for the downtown hotel property at 143 State St. and for a property at 1127 Main St. in the South End that formerly housed the Black Pearl restaurant.

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    20. Dr. Seuss Enterprises exec sees 'amazing' potential for new Springfield museum honoring native son

      Dr. Seuss Enterprises exec sees 'amazing' potential for new Springfield museum honoring native son

      Susan Brandt, an executive with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, often used the word "amazing" during a Tuesday tour of the Springfield Museums and the city and pledged to be a full partner in promoting plans for The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum. "It's exciting, very exciting," Brandt said regarding the new museum that will be dedicated to the life and legacy of Springfield native Theodor Seuss Geisel, writer of the world-famous Dr. Seuss children's books. "It's an amazing project. Once people get an opportunity to become acquainted with it, we know they will also want to support ...

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    21. South Hadley company chosen for Springfield Civic Center parking garage renovation project

      South Hadley company chosen for Springfield Civic Center parking garage renovation project

      The Springfield Parking Authority has selected Marois Construction of South Hadley for an $889,940 project to renovate and repair the Civic Center parking garage in downtown Springfield. The parking authority's board is meeting July 14, to consider approving the contract with Marois and a notice to proceed, with renovations slated to begin shortly thereafter, said Mary E. McNally, the authority's executive director. The renovations should be completed by late October, she said Wednesday.

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    22. MassDOT: I-91 project should not delay MGM Springfield casino opening

      MassDOT: I-91 project should not delay MGM Springfield casino opening

      The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has stated that it does not believe its Interstate 91 viaduct construction project in downtown Springfield should create any need for a proposed delayed opening of the MGM Springfield casino project. "MassDOT does not believe that the schedule for the (I-91) viaduct project need result in a delay in the construction of a casino in Springfield," MassDOT spokesman Michael Verseckes said in a prepared release. "In short, to speculate that completion of either project will be delayed when both projects are just getting under way is premature."

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    23. MGM Springfield officials to discuss impact of I-91 reconstruction delay, other issues with Mass. Gaming Commission

      MGM Springfield officials to discuss impact of I-91 reconstruction delay, other issues with Mass. Gaming Commission

      "MGM is participating in a series of meetings with MassDOT and City of Springfield officials to discuss the status of both the MGM Springfield and the I-91 viaduct construction projects," Brennan said. "From day one, the coordination of the two project timelines has been part of the MGM Springfield story. We plan to bring this discussion in full to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission when it meets later this month." Although some work at the MGM Springfield casino site in the city's South End is taking place, the company has not stated if the planned opening of the casino could ...

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    24. Greater Springfield YMCA appoints Dexter Johnson interim chief following resignation of Kirk Smith

      Greater Springfield YMCA appoints Dexter Johnson interim chief following resignation of Kirk Smith

      Johnson has been involved with YMCA organizations for the past 23 years, including working for five years at the the YMCA of the USA based in Chicago, where he served as regional training manager and was responsible for the implementation of the organization's strategic plan, according to Friday's news release from Poindexter. He also worked at the Tampa, Florida Metropolitan Area YMCA as district executive and executive director, the release states.

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    University of Massachusetts opens 'welcome center' for students at Springfield Tower Square satellite campus Massachusetts Life Sciences Center awards $500,000 to Western New England University for cancer research and development Deval Patrick touts $5.2 million investment in UMass Springfield satellite center as vital for education, economic development Springfield officials laud new $1.29 million grant for new skills training center at Forest Park J.C. Williams Community Center, celebrating its expansion, offers best wishes and help to struggling Dunbar center New Springfield downtown study calls for focus on dining, culture, housing Springfield City Council will discuss options, potential appeal, regarding planned construction of biomass plant Local officials praise $1.6 million Forest Park building project for Bright Nights storage, technical skills training MGM Springfield pays $85 million casino licensing fee to Massachusetts Springfield City Council approves new 3-year deal, annual payment to Business Improvement District Michael T. Oleksak Joins bankESB as VP of Commercial Lending Springfield's CRRC begins testing Orange Line cars for Boston's MBTA (photos, video)