In addition, the neighborhood councils came together to acknowledge and recognize Ed Whitley with an award for all the hard work and dedication he has done on behalf of all the neighborhood councils, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I want to thank Leo Florian, Shane Milette and the South End Citizens Council for their warm hospitality hosting us last night, and Coach Ed Whitley for helping to bring back our annual meeting in-person, post-COVID-19, it was so good to be together as one again. It was also heartwarming for the neighborhood councils to come together and present Coach Ed Whitley with an award to thank him for all his dedicated efforts working with all of our neighborhood councils. Thank you to all of the neighborhood council board members for coming out too. We had a very productive discussion and shared a lot of good information with our neighborhood councils on our continued efforts to get this much needed ARPA funding committed and allocated to our neighborhood councils, residents, businesses and nonprofits. Our dedicated ARPA team, led by ARPA Director Melanie Acobe, is following all of the proper federal guidelines and protocols so that only eligible Springfield residents and entities receive funding. Due to reports from across the country of fraud and abuse of ARPA monies, we do not want to careless in awarding applications without the proper checks and balances. Also, we were proud to once again explain my administrations $100,000 allocation to all our neighborhood councils.”
“In addition to the ARPA program, my administration continues to partner with numerous public and private organizations and agencies to help address the growing mental health needs of our community,” Mayor Sarno continued. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing health disparities, especially with mental health, creating a mental health epidemic. To help address these growing national challenges, I have tasked Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood, Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi, CDO Tim Sheehan and key city officials to partner with specific agencies that can assist and enhance our outreach efforts, programs and initiatives. Working with Sheriff Nick Cocchi, MHA, BHN, Baystate, Mercy, Gándara and a wide variety of other supporting agencies we have put together a working collaborative and initiative that will bring help, resources and outreach to those in need.”
“However, we cannot do this alone,” Mayor Sarno added. “I need our court system and the state Legislature to support our efforts. What good is it to try and clean up a neighborhood when those bad actors and repeat violent criminal offenders our brave and dedicated Springfield Police Department arrest on serious gun and drug charges are released back into our community and onto our streets to terrorize our residents and business community? How can we continue to provide relief, services and outreach without adequate support funding from our state. What we need is for the courts to do their job and keep these repeat violent criminal offenders on gun and drug charges out of our community so they cannot keep pushing their poison of substance abuse upon our residents and threaten our neighborhoods with their guns. In turn, Police Superintendent Clapprood and I had a very productive meeting with US Attorney Rachael Rollins and all our state and federal law enforcement officials; District Attorney Gulluni’s Office, FBI, State Police, DEA and ATF to continue our partnership to keep the heat on ‘The bad actors’. We need the state Legislature to follow our lead and provide much-need relief and assistance for our residents, businesses and nonprofits by committing the over $5 billion of ARPA funding the Commonwealth has been allocated. Only by working together can we accomplish meaningful change for the betterment of all, no matter ones creed, color or background.”
The City of Springfield received $123.8 million in ARPA funding as part of the $350 billion federal American Rescue Plan Act designated for direct aid to state, local and tribal governments. After meeting with nearly 30 neighborhood councils and other organizations as part of Mayor Sarno’s citywide listening sessions to hear directly from our residents and business community, Mayor Sarno identified seven categories in which RFP’s will be utilized to enhance projects, programs and initiatives across the city for the betterment of our residents and businesses. They include: Nonprofit Assistance, New Business Assistance, Small Business Assistance, Senior Citizen Assistance, Neighborhood/Household Assistance, Capital Projects/Public Space Improvements, and Job Creation/Economic Development
For more information on the City of Springfield’s ARPA RFP process, ARPA applications and FAQs, please visit the Department of Recovery and Business Continuity webpage at: www.springfield-ma.gov/finance/arpa