|By G. Michael Dobbs, Managing Editor|
SPRINGFIELD The official opening of the new office of the Armory Quadrangle Civic Association (AQCA) on Thursday night was also the time that Mayor Charles Ryan made several well-received announcements.
Ryan told the group of downtown residents gathered at the Kimball Towers Condominiums that within the next several weeks, the new members of the Finance Control Board would be announced. Ryan said of the three people to be appointed by Governor Deval Patrick, "I think you will be delighted."
Ryan added the emphasis of the new FCB would be on improving the city's schools and economic development. Patrick has extended the FCB's role in the city for one more year until the summer of 2008.
Referring to the criticism made earlier that day by State Senator Stephen Buoniconti (D-Springfield) and State Representative Thomas Petrolati (D- Ludlow) over a FCB decision to allocate $22.3 million of the $52 million loan pool for economic development, Ryan said the improvement made by city would be undermined unless the city sees economic growth.
"Our revenue must go up," Ryan said. "Economic development is the bread and butter of urban living."
Ryan also announced he will convene a hearing on June 18 to consider the rescinding of the entertainment license for Amazing.net, the adult entertainment store at Apremont Triangle across from Kimball Towers. He said the Police Department has filed "several serious charges" against the store.
Ninety thousand dollars have been set aside by the city to begin the renovation of the Armory Commons Park, Ryan added. He said that within two weeks officials from the city's Parks department would meet with AQCA members to hear their ideas about the park. Ryan said he doubted that $90,000 could pay for the entire renovation, but it would be a start.
He also said that Spring, Eliot and Pearl Streets would be re-surfaced with federal funding. He called them among the worse streets in the city.
The office at Kimball Towers provides the civic association with central location in the heart of the neighborhood, Michael Tuckey, Sr., president of AQCA, said.
Although the office is not always staffed, having a physical address, rather than a post office box, gives the organization "a higher profile," he added.
He thanked the members of the Kimball Towers Condominium Association and Linda Caron of the building's management for making the office space available.
About 100 residents of the downtown neighborhood belong to the organization, which has major goals of encouraging the re-building of Apremont Triangle at Pearl and Chestnut Streets and building sustainable economic growth in the area.
The group also sponsors historical walks through the neighborhood with the Springfield Museums. The next one, on the African American heritage Trail, is June 9 from 10:30 to noon and begins from the museum complex on Edwards Street. The cost is free for AQCA and Springfield Museum members and $5 for all others.
Tuckey said the organization is always looking for new members. For additional information, call 747-1830 or log onto www.AQCAspringfield.org.