The Patrick-Murray administration has awarded Springfield and Monson $1.9 million in tornado relief grants. The money comes as part of the $4 million in funding that the governor announced on the anniversary of the June 1 tornado.
"It is reconstructing the community where it was damaged in ways that will really be a benefit going forward for everybody," Monson town administrator Gretchen Neggers said.
The grant from the state is allowing the two Western Mass communities to make repairs that they wouldn't otherwise have been able to.
"We're very excited about the things that it is going to allow us to do," Neggers said.
Springfield received $1 million to go towards debris removal and reforestation at nine parks in the city.
"This is very good news," Springfield's Executive Director of Parks and Recreation Patrick Sullivan said. "And it's important news that we are going to be cleaning these areas up because there was a lot of potential for dangerous situations."
Sullivan said that the current debris posed a large risk for brush fires and that this cleanup will lessen that threat.
"There will still be additional grants that we need to restore fully, but this is going to go a long way in making our city safe," Sullivan said.
Officials said the city of Springfield lost tens of thousands of trees in the tornado. And this grant provides the city with $400,000 to help replant trees on public properties.
"It's public safety and it's environmental work," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. "At the end of the day it is really an understanding by the governor and lieutenant governor that these are the types of projects that really are needed to make a difference to the neighborhoods."
Over in Monson the grant provided $500,000 to be used for a number of cleanup projects including repairs to public recreation areas like ball fields and tennis courts.
"It's things we otherwise wouldn't have been able to do," said Neggers. "It's more of the reconstruction, it's not the immediate repairs."
The repairs in both communities will start shortly. And officials say more money could soon be coming to Western Mass from that $4 million that the Patrick-Murray administration set aside.
Copyright 2012 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.