The 2017 reopening of Springfield’s Union Station was a remarkable day. The Ninety-Five Million Dollar project tipped its hat to the past and signaled great expectations for the future. At the time, it was called a “Renaissance”. Federal, State, and City leaders thoughtfully invested, in a devastated public landmark, to catalyze new opportunity for a struggling city center. From Los Angles to Worcester – revived train stations are symbols of enlightened urban planning. Springfield’s beautiful new Union Station is a testament to the unwavering 40-year quest of Congressman Richard Neil and a positive statement on the vision of local leadership.
Given the years of effort needed to make Union Station a reality, it is difficult to accept recent city approval of a junkyard nearby. In defense of the City Council, many abutters report not receiving notice of the junkyard hearing. As a result, the vote occurred without sufficient input and information. On behalf of myself and other downtown property owners, I encourage city leadership to reconsider this decision. My company (Davenport) completed its first apartment building near Union Station in 2021. The project has proven to be a success for our investors and neighbors. We hope to continue with similar developments in the area.
Since 2018, Springfield’s city staff (in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts) has crafted a vision for development surrounding Union Station. The masterplan includes housing, office buildings, medical facilities, green spaces, and a walkable neighborhood. It is practical and achievable plan, that translates to thousands of new jobs, and an elevation of the downtown experience. It is a plan that does not contemplate a 7.5 acre open-air junkyard in its midst.
Davenport believes in Springfield’s master planned vision and we understand the power of Union Station to continue leveraging positive transformation. We also understand the impact of a junkyard. Junkyards negate job growth. Junkyards discourage new investment. A junkyard is a neighborhood where people do not seek to live, work, and play. There are many suitable locations for junkyards in Massachusetts. The heart of a historic city is not one of them.
Please reconsider the decision to place a junkyard in downtown Springfield.