View Full Article SPRINGFIELD — Called a monstrosity and prolonged fire hazard, the city has launched the final phase of demolition of the former Massachusetts Career Development Institute property in the Upper Hill neighborhood.
“We take this monstrosity down — MCDI — which no neighborhood residents should have to put up with,” Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said Monday. “This has really been a great public and neighborhood partnership. A wonderful transformation continues for all the great families out here in the Old Hill, McKnight and Upper Hill area.”
The two-phase demolition and cleanup project is costing the city approximately $2.6 million, with the final phased being completed by Associated Building Wreckers of Springfield.
The first phase began in November of 2020, after years of legal entanglements and other delays.
Adrienne Osborn, president of the Upper Hill Neighborhood Council, said she is “elated” to seeing the site at 140 Wilbraham Avenue finally on the cusp of demolition and cleanup.
Osborn said she is glad the site will create “a beautiful opportunity” for a new use such as an incubator for small businesses or artists or other uses that will make the area thrive.
The property has been “very, very worrisome” due to fire hazards” as well as being an eyesore, Osborn said.
“I’m happy it is going to be a safe place in terms of not worrying about whether or not it’s going to catch on fire, who is going to get caught in there,” Osborn said.
In 2016, there was an arson fire in the building that damaged more than half the building, and was caused by trespassers, officials said.
Once leveled and cleaned, the city will advertise for proposals to redevelop the site that is compatible with the neighborhood, Sarno said.
The city plans to continue conferring with neighborhood residents about potential future development, potentially for business or residential use, officials said.
Sarno said the site has been a danger to the public and firefighters, as evidenced by past fires.
“This is the right thing to do for our residents and business community,” Sarno said.
State Rep. Bud L. Williams, D-Springfield, said the demolition has been “a long-time coming,” as the city went through prolonged court action to gain control of the property. The site was an eyesore for years, and the neighborhood deserves to be rid of the structures as part of a transformation of that area, he said.
MCDI had closed in 2013, and the site was abandoned by the owner, officials said. The city foreclosed on the property in 2019, and secured city bond funds for the site.
The project is part of a community transformation that includes the construction of a new adjacent park at the end of Wilbraham Avenue to replace Deberry Park
The second phase, costing about $1.6 million, includes taking down all remaining structures on the site, removal of hazardous materials and site restoration, officials said.
Others gathered for the announced final phase included code Enforcement Commissioner Steven Desilets, and Peter Garvey, the director of Capital Asset Construction. and Tina Quagliato-Sullivan, the director of disaster recovery.