© 2024 New England Public Media

FCC public inspection files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact hello@nepm.org or call 413-781-2801.
PBS, NPR and local perspective for western Mass.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Healey allocates $106M for new Springfield courthouse; state lawmaker questions potential sites

Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield.
Creative Commons
Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield.

More than $100 million in funding has been allocated by Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey's administration to replace the Roderick Ireland courthouse in downtown Springfield. The money will be distributed over four years.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said Thursday this initial investment will be used to pick a location and design for what he calls " a much needed project."

For decades court employees and city and state officials have been demanding a new courthouse, as problems with mold plague the current building.

Days before the announcement of the funds State Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, D- Springfield, sent a letter to the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) expressing his concern that a new courthouse could be built outside the city.

A report released earlier this month by the state named 13 potential sites to replace the Roderick Ireland courthouse. Among them are three sites in East Longmeadow and West Springfield. And that alarms Gonzalez.

"It needs to be at the heart and soul of Hampden county, and that is in the city of Springfield. And [the] downtown area or an adjacent neighborhood should be the only consideration," Gonzalez said.

Carol Gladstone, commissioner of DCAMM, said the report was preliminary. In a letter responding to Gonzalez' concerns, she said the list will help determine suitable properties in the Springfield area.

Criteria includes "lot size, walking distance to public transportation, and climate resilience."

Sarno is advocating for a site in the north Riverfront Park area of the city.

"This would...address a wide variety of needs for our city, including much-needed additional housing to the city, which is a cornerstone of Governor Healey’s administration," Sarno said in a press release. "This project would also address parking and public transportation aspects, create additional amenities from restaurants and boutique shops along with a proposed marina, and more of that good four-letter word – jobs."

NEPM's Elizabeth Román contributed to this report.

Kari Njiiri is a senior reporter and longtime host and producer of "Jazz Safari," a musical journey through the jazz world and beyond, broadcast Saturday nights on NEPM Radio. He's also the local host of NPR’s "All Things Considered."
Related Content