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MassMutual gives city $1.6 million rebuilding present

Date: 10/4/2011

Oct. 5, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD — MassMutual Life Insurance Company took the opportunity of the Community Rebuilding Fair to announce its birthday present to the city of Springfield — a $1.6 million donation to help implement the master rebuilding plan that will begin being developed.

Roger Crandall, the chairman, CEP and president of the insurance giant, explained the company would celebrate its 160th anniversary by making the donation.

The announcement of the $1.6 million donation followed an earlier $100,000 donation the company made to the American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter.

Nicholas Fyntrilakis, assistant vice president of community responsibility, explained the donation will not be used to pay for the development of the master plan and DevelopSpringfield is still in need of donations to fully pay for it.

The final price is between $500,000 to $700,00 and Fyntrilakis said the works being done by Concordia, the planning consultants hired by the city, will be done in phases and there is enough money to pay for the first phase.

That first phase will be a series of meetings in the area affected by the tornado, according to Bobbie Hill of Concordia.

The schedule for the first meetings is as follows:

• District One (Metro Center and the South End) will meet at the Gentile Apartments Community Room, 85 Williams St., on Oct. 13 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

• District Two (Six Corners-Maple High, Upper Hill, Old Hill, Forest Park) will meet at the J.C. Williams Center, 116 Florence St., on Oct. 12 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

• District Three (Sixteen Acres, East Forest Park) will meet at Holy Cross Gymnasium, 221 Plumtree Road, on Oct. 11 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

The gym at the High School of Commerce — a building that was narrowly missed by the tornado on June 1 — was filled with tables of various agencies and non-profit organizations offering specific help to those still coping with the aftermath of the tornado.

Lizzy Ortiz, the housing retention coordinator for the city’s Office of Housing explained there is a long-term recovery group formed to assist people still with unmet needs. She said those people should either call 296-1052 or go to

Kirsten Morra, the National Emergency Grant manager at Future Works, explained the jobs agency received a $3 million designated to pay for temporary jobs associated with the tornado. The jobs are limited to six months and have a cap of $12,000.

Melissa Scibelli, project manager for the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, added the hiring process is still ongoing and interested applicant should contact Future Works at 858-2857 for more information.

Joe Kerigan, the director of Energy Programs at Springfield Partners for Community Action, said repairing homes at this time is also a good opportunity to use the weatherization services offered by the anti-poverty agency.

“It’s a good time to piggy back,” he said.

The weatherization services are eligible to those homeowners who receive fuel assistance and meet income requirements. Call 263-6500 for more information.

Tom McCall, an attorney working with the Massachusetts Division of Insurance (DOI) urged homeowners with questions about insurance claims or other insurance issues should contact the DOI at

He said there are still people waiting for claims to be settled and said those affected by the tornado should continue following up with their insurers.

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