WEST SPRINGFIELD – William Reichelt, the current town attorney, has become the third candidate to confirm a run for mayor of West Springfield. Reichelt joins state Rep. Mike Finn and former town assessor Hans Doup in the race.
Reichelt has served the town in his current role for about a year, previously working in Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen’s office and spending time on the Planning Board.
Having grown up in West Springfield, even serving as a student representative for the high school, Reichelt said this is something he has been working towards.
“It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I didn’t expect it to be so soon but the timing’s right. It’s been great working with Mayor [Edward] Sullivan. He’s been an awesome mentor,” Reichelt said. “I’ve worked closely with mayors for three years now … I’ve enjoyed it and I want to do more. I’ve got a good vision for the town and where it can go and I want to be a part of that.”
Though it is still early in the campaigning process, Reichelt said he has an idea of where the town should go. A large part of this vision, he said, has been influenced by working closely with Sullivan and will continue to evolve as he talks to more and more residents.
One of his main focuses will be infrastructure – namely potholes and tree maintenance.
“That’s the biggest thing that effects people in their every day life,” Reichelt said.
Reichelt said West Springfield is also in a unique situation with the planned MGM casino in Springfield. There is an opportunity to “rework” the two largest commercial corridors – Rt. 5 and Memorial Avenue.
“I definitely want to work with the casino, see where we can get with that and see if we can develop the infrastructure of those two corridors,” Reichelt said. “I think the town is business friendly, but a more welcoming approach to some of the areas that need to be redeveloped.”
In his time as town attorney, Reichelt has worked closely with Sullivan to develop a receivership program, which brings attention to abandoned and blighted homes with the goal of eventually getting them back on the market.
This program is something that he is proud of and is an example of how local government is here to help, he said. A big part of that, he said, is just listening to what the people of West Springfield have to say.
“It’s great to show them what they get and what we’re here for and providing open channels of communication to everyone so they come in,” Reichelt said. “A lot of people say it’s just complaints but it’s not really so much people complaining as it is people just wanting to tell you how they feel and what they think you should do. You can always help them out and understand how government works.”
Even though Reichelt will be turning 29 at the end of June, he said his age is an advantage and not representative of inexperience. If anything, Reichelt said his “younger blood” gives him an edge and a different perspective.
“I’m very passionate about the town. I’m not coming out of this just to do it. I really care about it and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while and I know that I’ll be able to do a good job,” he said. “I know that I’ll be able to listen to people, and not everyone is going to get their way. That’s how life works, but it won’t always be my way either. It’s all about compromise.”