General Preservation

Support the CPA in Springfield!

Springfield CPA

On November 8, 2016, voters in Springfield will have the opportunity to support the Community Preservation Act. If passed, this will set up a fund in the city dedicated to Historic Preservation, Open Space/Recreation, and Housing.

Historic Preservation has taken a back seat in the city for far too long. We have a tremendous amount of historic properties, but many are neglected, and have been neglected for decades. Unfortunately, Springfield has had perennial budget constraints for decades, and historic preservation is always put on the back burner in favor of things like public safety, employee raises, and even deferred pension liabilities.

The CPA would create a separate stream of revenue from a small 1.5% surcharge on property taxes. For the average house (valued at $134,806), it comes to approximately $10 per year, or less than $1 per month. When everyone contributes, this raises a total of $1 million per year, and this triggers a state match which can be up to 100% per year (though in 2015 the match was about 29%).

I encourage every Springfield voter to vote yes on Question 5, for the CPA!

St. Joseph's Church: 1874-2008?

News has broken today that St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, situated on the corner of Howard and East Columbus Avenue, has been sold by the Springfield Diocese for $1.2 million to the Colvest Group of Windsor, CT.

Given Colvest's history of developing parcels into CVS and Starbucks, I'm not very optimistic that their plan includes renovating and preserving this church. Odds are that it will be demolished, yet another church steeple gone from the downtown horizon.

Old White Street School

Before the present-day White Street School was built in 1904 across from Stratford Street, there was another White Street School. It was an mixed grade school, and it served the rural population in that area of the city. It was described in the 1900 City Report as having just a single school room -- in other words, it was a little old brick schoolhouse. It had 40 students and was heated only by a wood stove. The first teacher was Carol A. Moseley, in 1872, and in 1875 its teacher was Georgie A. Thayer.

The school operated on White Street, just before its intersection with Sumner Avenue, and served as a school until at least 1900. The building still exists today as the oldest schoolhouse in Springfield -- but for how much longer?

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