BID announces new director and lighting project
SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Business Improvement District (BID) has a new permanent executive director, a new website and a new capital improvement plan.
The announcements were made on Sept. 16 at a press event during which BID Board Chair Skip Lessard announced that BID Executive Director Chris Russell’s appointment has been made permanent.
“He’s taken the BID in new and exciting directions,” Lessard said. “We couldn’t be more pleased with his performance.”
Russell was appointed interim executive director in January. His position was changed in August.
Lessard described the BID as an organization that “takes city services and enhances them” for its downtown building owner members.
Russell explained the BID has become partners with DevelopSpringfield in an effort to install architectural lighting that will create a “corridor of light” on Main Street from Falcon Way to Bridge Street from dusk to dawn. The project will cost about $400,000 and Russell hopes to expand it throughout the downtown area.
The BID’s new website has the same address (www.springfielddowntown.com
), but has been redesigned more functionality. Downtown events will be listed in its calendar and information on restaurants, lodging and parking is highlighted.
Russell also cited some of the recent activity downtown that included the opening of the new WFCR studios on Main Street, the $15 million investment of the new owners of the former Morgan Square apartments, the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival, the annual Mattoon Arts festival and the Puerto Rican Day Parade.
Upcoming events include the opening of the seasons for the Springfield Symphony and the Springfield Falcons and the opening of the new University of Massachusetts satellite campus at Tower Square, among others, Russell said.
Katy Moonan was introduced as the new director of the Springfield Central Cultural District, who will be working closely with the BID in developing downtown events and economic development. A graduate of Smith College, she told Reminder Publications she grew up “all over,” but mainly lived in Mexico.
A musician, she was formerly the director of a non-profit literacy program in Holyoke called Reader to reader Inc.
“I’m a strong believer in the arts for urban revitalization,” she said.
Mayor Domenic Sarno emphasized, “There are plenty of good going on in the city of Springfield.”