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Identity Crisis No More: Greenfield, Mass., Finally Calls Itself A 'City'

"Town Hall" in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
File photo
"Town Hall" in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Fifteen years after changing its government to act like a city, Greenfield, Massachusetts, will now officially be called one. 

Greenfield got its first mayor and council in 2002, after a contentious debate.

But back then, according to council vice-president Isaac Mass, many residents objected to calling it a city. They thought "town" was better for attracting tourists -- by evoking quaint New England.

"As a result of that, we earned the affectionate moniker around the commonwealth as the 'city known as the town of Greenfield,'" Mass said.

But over the years, Mass said, this "identity crisis" has caused confusion in grant applications and other official paperwork.

So he introduced the name change, and this week, the council unanimously approved.

The mayor and state legislature still have to sign off.

But Mass said, given that no residents showed up at the vote to complain, he expects Greenfield to soon get its new title. 

Karen Brown is a radio and print journalist who focuses on health care, mental health, children’s issues, and other topics about the human condition. She has been a full-time radio reporter for NEPM since 1998.
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