This funding announcement continues to highlight the Sarno Administration’s commitment to utilizing the city of Springfield’s allocation of federal ARPA funding to provide relief, assistance, and economic development opportunities, especially to those populations and communities that have historically been underserved and adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The HOPE CDC ARPA application was submitted and approved following a previous meeting with Black clergy leaders, as part of Mayor Sarno’s citywide ARPA listening sessions – one of his first COVID-19 pandemic community outreach meeting back in August 2021 at Holy Trinity Church on Bay Street. Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan, Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, Chief of Staff Tom Ashe, Mayoral Aide Lavar Click-Bruce, state Representative Bud Williams, Bishop Talbert Swan, Bishop James Gill, Bishop Leonard Naylor, Bishop Andrew Daubon, Pastor Gail Hill, Rev. Will Naylor, the late Ron Johnson from MLK, City Councilor Malo Brown, former City Councilor Marcus Williams, and School Committeewoman LaTonia Naylor were also part of this meeting where key faith-based community leaders expressed their interest in creating a CDC to help invest and develop their community while also providing much-needed support and training within the minority community that has been directly impacted by the pandemic. In addition to the $500,000 being committed to HOPE CDC by the city of Springfield, state Representative Bud Williams has indicated that he intends to file a matching earmark with the state.
Mayor Sarno and city officials met with over 35 neighborhood councils, nonprofits, community groups, businesses, and residents to discuss and hear their needs and suggestions on how to best utilize the city of Springfield’s local ARPA funding.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I want to thank Archbishop Timothy Paul Baymon, Rev. J.P. Morgan, Jr., and all the religious and faith-based leaders that met with me and my dedicated city team at the Holy Trinity Church as part of my citywide listening tour. That meeting was very productive and as a direct result we were able to come up with a direct plan of action on how to best enhance our neighborhoods that lack a CDC by having our Houses of Worship come together to create a CDC and utilize this entity to partner with the city of Springfield and make meaningful enhancements and improvements in our Mason Square, Six Corners, Old Hill, Upper Hill, McKnight, and Bay neighborhoods. This vital and key economic development entity will provide much-needed resources by providing the opportunity for the neighborhood and small businesses, through this HOPE CDC, to connect with a team of professionals and to access funding and resources to help create an environment to grow and establish a structure to flourish, with an emphasis on assisting those who have been directly and adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially our minority, women, and low-income communities.”
CDO Tim Sheehan stated, “In having worked directly with the pastors involved with the HOPE CDC, I am confident that it will quickly become the frontline for neighborhood revitalization in the area it serves. CDC residential and commercial investments increase the economic strength of a community by bringing business people, civic organizations and public and private agencies into the neighborhood improvement process as equitable partners for change”.
Archbishop Timothy Paul Baymon said, “On behalf of the HOPE CDC, I want to thank Mayor Sarno, Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan and the administration for their continued efforts in supporting our faith-based community and our Houses of Worship, as we look to make positive improvements within the communities that we serve through economic development opportunities that directly impact our neighborhoods. This funding commitment will serve as a tremendous resource for positive changes within the neighborhoods our Houses of Worships are anchored in.”
Rev. J.P. Morgan, Jr. said, “I want to thank Mayor Sarno and his administration for their continued support and investment in our faith-based institutions and Houses of Worship. This announcement of funding for our HOPE CDC is a result of our previous meeting with Mayor Sarno, Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan, Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and other city officials at our Holy Trinity C.O.G.I.C. where we shared with Mayor Sarno the need for support and funding for our respective congregations through this unique Community Development Corporation that will collaborate to advance economic development opportunities so that we can continue to not only support our communities spiritual needs but also take into consideration the needs of the neighborhood.”
The HOPE CDC is committed to partnering with the city of Springfield by mobilizing community resources to assist those in need in the community as well as to invest in the neighborhood by supporting small businesses which will increase the economic vitality of the neighborhood. In addition, HOPE CDC is planning to provide technical assistance, leadership and business support, and any additional assistance that will promote growth and investment in the community, including increasing the amount of capital that people of color and minority owned businesses can access.
“Supporting, sustaining and enhancing our successful community and neighborhood initiatives that promote economic development and growth, beautification, and neighborhood enhancements are a hallmark of my administration,” said Mayor Sarno. “I am proud to be able to award HOPE CDC with this ARPA grant funding and look forward to working with Archbishop Baymon and Rev. Morgan, Jr. as we continue to work together to move our Springfield forward. Stay tuned for more good announcements to come!”