City Councilor seeks to use old Friendly’s building on Sumner Ave. for nearby school

Right now, that school is using the parking lot for their staff, as well as family pick up and drop off.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 6:40 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - A building in Springfield has remained vacant since the Friendly’s restaurant closed. Now, the city is considering purchasing it to use for a nearby school.

The old Friendly’s restaurant sits on Sumner Avenue in Springfield, right next to Sumner Avenue Elementary School. Right now, that school is using the parking lot for their staff, as well as family pick up and drop off.

Springfield school officials said that about 40 cars park in this parking lot every single day that school is in session. Now, the owners of the building are considering selling it or leasing it, which could negatively affect the community.

In a statement sent to Western Mass News, Springfield school officials said, quote:

“Should this annex parking suddenly become unavailable, it would force upwards of 40 cars to park on surrounding residential streets, causing neighborhood disruption and introducing a new set of foot traffic safety concerns.”

Right now, the city pays $40,000 to be able to use the parking spaces. City councilors are discussing purchasing the building for $1,115,000.

Some counselors are worried that they need to move fast to secure the building, but Councilor Victor Davila told us that they need to take their time to make their decision.

“If I’m going to spend one million, $1,115,000 of your money, I’m going to make sure that it’s wisely used,” Councilor Davila said. “My timeline is the people’s timeline.”

If they do choose to purchase the new building, the parking lot would still be used for Sumner Avenue School parking, and they have plans for the building structure, as well.

“The building itself will be used for a virtual school and offices for the school department,” Councilor Davila told us.

He has a meeting to hear the public’s concerns on October 17. Then, the proposal will be presented to the council, and they will vote on whether or not to acquire the property through eminent domain.