FEMA approves $25 million for 2011 tornado damage in Springfield - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

FEMA approves $25 million for 2011 tornado damage in Springfield

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City leaders in Springfield announced $25 million in reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday. The money is for city owned facilities that were damaged or destroyed during a tornado that touched down June 1, 2011.

Mayor Domenic Sarno called the process tedious and monotonous. He thanked businesses and residents saying their patience paid off.

He said reliving that day brings back some tough memories, but the people of Springfield are resilient.

The FEMA reimbursement was in addition to $21.8 million Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery funding. The city will also be reimbursed for $27.9 million for construction of the Elias Brookings Museum Magnet School which was destroyed in the tornado.

U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal also called the process frustrating and sometimes painful. He said FEMA frequently requested additional documentation, but called the requests reasonable.

Money is earmarked for four capital projects in Springfield.

The Porter Lake Skate House in Forest Park will be redeveloped and renovated. The building houses the Clifford A. Phaneuf Environmental Center which runs the Environmental Center for our Schools or ECOS program.

A new, $12 million senior center is also planned at Blunt Park.

Springfield police would benefit by moving some operations to the former Arthur MacArthur Army Reserve Center. Plans call for up to $10.5 million in renovations to the building, which will house the Tactical Response Unit and the training academy.

The South End Community Center was also slated for $8 million in renovations.

Bids were expected to begin for the projects in the spring with work beginning in the fall.

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