Before its rebirth as the 212-unit Outing Park Apartments, the Springfield neighborhood suffered decades of blight, crime and the devastating 2011 tornado that struck the city.
But following a long partnership between the city and First Resources Companies, the Outing Park Apartments have revitalized the neighborhood and are providing modern, quality affordable housing for low-income residents.
MassHousing is pleased to have committed $4 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for the $75 million project - $2 million for each of the two phases of rehabilitation of the 23 total historic buildings in Outing Park.
Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Domenic Sarno recently presided over a celebratory event to acknowledge the completion of the new housing that has transformed a neighborhood.
"This is a tribute to all of you who stuck with it all the way because you had the vision," said Governor Baker. "It really is brick by brick, building by building; street by street that gets you there. This is the start of a special and new opportunity for this city and neighborhood."
Mayor Sarno noted the neighborhood was once called the Hollywood section of the city and enjoyed positive growth after World War II before declining into a high-crime area wrought with violence and drug dealing.
"Now it has been reborn into a new great neighborhood," he said. "Crime is down now. It can be done and it will be done and we will continue to march forward in our neighborhoods."
First Resources President and CEO Gordon Pulsifer said Outing Park is the "largest collection of housing blocks in Springfield" but they were in "bad shape" when the company partnered with Springfield to rehabilitate the property nearly a decade ago.
"There is quite a transformation of the before and after," he said. "It's important to look back and keep history from repeating itself. When we got here it was in bad shape. It's very important to keep these (state financing) programs funded. What it has done for these neighborhoods across the Commonwealth and the families that live in these neighborhoods is very important."
MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason noted that it takes a number of committed public and private partners to transform a neighborhood like Outing Park.
"Sometimes the housing we are involved with reaches a critical mass and we can change a neighborhood," he said. "That is what has been done here and it's important for the families and kids who live here and it will give a leg up for the next generation who live here."