June Update

June 20, 2011 at 10:11 AM

City2City Posting June 20, 2011
UpdateTornado Impact 

City2City Greater Springfield Planning Committee met on May 31, 2011, the day before the June 1 tornado ripped a 39-mile path of destruction through Western Massachusetts including large sections of Springfield. 

Many of those who participated as part of the City2City trip to Winston-Salem and Greensboro were directly affected by the tornado or are involved in relief efforts. Ron Ancrum, President of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and co-facilitator of the City2City initiative and trip to North Carolina, could see the storm from the CFWM offices on the 23rd floor of Tower Square. 

As a result of the storm the Community Foundation has established the Tornado Relief Fund for Western Mass to aid non-profits that are attempting to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of those impacted by the tornado. Visit the Community Foundation website for more info: www.communityfoundation.org.

For City2City participant and planning committee member Joan Kagan the tornado had a dramatic impact. Her organization, Square One, suffered a direct hit at one of its early education centers at 947 and 959 Main Street, in Springfield’s north end where the tornado entered the city. Fortunately no children or staff were hurt and Square One will move its Main Street center operation into temporary space at  Springfield Technology Park adjacent to Springfield Technical Community College.

HAPHousing, an active participant in the City2City initiative, is working with other non-profits to find housing for those displaced by tornado damage. In Springfield alone 514 dwellings have been condemned. HAP is working to raise $300,000 to help pay the upfront costs—first month’s rent, security deposit, utility hook-ups—needed to establish a new residence. HAP is also collecting all kinds of essential household items for those displaced, as the contents of their homes were also destroyed during the tornado. For more info: www.haphousing.org.

HAPHousing Plans to Host Winston-Salem’s Mayor Joines in November

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines will serve as the main speaker at HAPHousing’s annual event to be held in November at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The Federal Reserve Board has identified both Winston-Salem and Greensboro as “Resurgent Cities.” The City2City Greater Springfield visit in the fall of 2010 was designed to provide the Springfield contingent with data and ideas that could be utilized in ongoing initiatives to help Springfield achieve Resurgent City status. Mayor Joines meet with C2Cer’s and shared his community’s experience in overcoming some of the same challenges Springfield is facing in its development.

Participants in the City2City initiative and those interested will have an opportunity to meet with Mayor Joines to discuss Winston-Salem’s success and share information about ongoing initiatives in Springfield that have been stimulated by the North Carolina trip.

Planning the Next City2City VisitGrand Rapids or Jersey City

Planning is continuing on selection of another City2City site visit. Planners have narrowed the choice down to Grand Rapids, Michigan and Jersey City, New Jersey, both of which have experienced turnarounds in recent years. The visit would again take place in the fall, either late November or early December. More details will be forthcoming.

There is also a suggestion to visit a closer-to-home Resurgent City, New Haven, Connecticut. Planners are considering a City2City Greater Springfield visit to New Haven in the spring, as a follow-up to the planned trip to either Grand Rapids or Jersey City. 

More updates on the next visit will be posted as details become available.

Tags: Springfield Mass Tornado Mayor Joines HAPHousing Event Square One

Paul Robbins


Paul Robbins of Paul Robbins Associates-Strategic Communications is managing the City2City Pioneer Valley blog. The intent is solely to provide information about the initiative and inform those interested about ongoing City2City initiatives. Paul is a member of the City2City Greater Springfield planning committee and participated in the first trip to Winston-Salem and Greensboro, North Carolina. He will post content generated by City2City participants, provide updates on related initiatives and publish input from those interested in the initiative. For those wishing to provide content, Paul can be reached at paul@paulrobbinsassociates.com.

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