Paramount Reception, Next Stop: Grand Rapids

July 26, 2011 at 1:53 PM

City2City participant Herbie Flores hosted about 30 representatives of the initiative on Friday, July 22 in the Paramount Theater, the building that was acquired earlier this year by the agency Herbie leads, the New England Farm Workers Council. 

Participants learned more about the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s recommendation for City2City Greater Springfield to visit Grand Rapids, Michigan in the fall.  The Springfield group will travel to Grand Rapids on November 29, returning December 1, 2011. Participants are responsible for the cost of travel and accommodations. Ron Ancrum, of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, will again help facilitate the trip. 

Ron Ancrum along with Richard Walker and Anthony Poore, both of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, will be traveling to Grand Rapids in August to meet with key contacts and arrange the tour agenda for the fall. More details will be forthcoming in this space.

Grand Rapids and Springfield enjoy many similarities: both cities are roughly equivalent in terms of average household incomes, educational attainment levels, the unemployment rate and housing composition (owner occupied vs. renter occupied). 

Among the practices that have helped Grand Rapids earn “resurgent city” status by the Federal Reserve Bank and that will offer learning tracks for the Springfield contingent include: political inclusion and collaborative leadership; the role of long- term planning as a community building tool; the role of philanthropy as a catalyst for change; the role of local universities and community colleges as community development partners; the importance of collaborative regional community development; and the role of arts and culture.

Puerto Rican Leadership Coalition Formed 

As a result of last year’s C2C experience, Herbie Flores has helped form a new Puerto Rican Leadership group that now meets on a regular basis. As a way to promote and develop more collaborative leadership within the Puerto Rican community, the group is meeting to discuss community and economic development initiatives, particularly relating to Downtown Springfield, as well as other critical issues affecting the Hispanic and wider communities. Herbie indicated to the group that this initiative is a direct result of last fall’s visit to the two C2C resurgent cities in North Carolina. 

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines To Keynote HAPHousing Annual Event, Nov. 16

Peter Gagliardi and Sarah Page from HAPHousing were part of the group that traveled to North Carolina and both were impressed with the work of Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines to revitalize his city. 

As a result, HAPHousing will be hosting Mayor Joines who will serve as keynote speaker at HAP’s annual event on the evening of Wednesday, November 16, 2011. Plans are underway for an afternoon session with Mayor Joines and representatives of City2City Greater Springfield. Details about HAP’s evening event and the afternoon session will be shared on this blog once finalized. 

Develop Springfield

At the C2C Paramount Theater meeting, Glen Davis of MassMutual and a City2City participant, shared details on Develop Springfield, its storefront improvement project, and its primary funding source, MassMutual. 

Tags: New England Farm Workers Council Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Grand Rapids Resurgent Cities Community Foundation of Western Mass HAPHousing Develop Springfield MassMutual Mayor Allen Joines Winston-Salem Greensboro

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

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