Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Old Springfield, MA, Riverfront Park

Ah, for the old days in Springfield - back when the city actually had a riverfront to enjoy. The construction of Route 91 certainly didn't help matters any, but much of the neglect we see today is without question the fault of local management. How any city can sit next to a river and barely even acknowledge its existence is strange, to say the least. This is the time of year - when the river is low - that the city should be investing resources to clean out the mess there. And there should be docks and well-tended banks and lawns lining the waterway. But instead we have trash-littered banks overgrown with trees and bushes, where only the city's vagrants - and the occasional joggers - care to venture. The river itself is a dump - filled with shopping carts, tires, and furniture.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Imagine a Riverfront Park where urban fairs, arts & craft shows, and kids carnivals are accentuated by boat rides and fishing derbies. What the hell has happened to this city? Sometimes I just look around and shake my head, puzzled by it all.

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- See Riverfront Park Video Here

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At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a bad idea, but what are you doing about it, beyond complainign about what other peopel aren't foign and how obvious is that something should be happening. To start where woudl the City find the $$$ you mention for all the improvemetns you describe ? Can't you be glad that the Old Hall of Fame is going to be redveloped ? Or is arm chair complaining all you are capable of?

At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Earth to Bill, do you have any idea that the natural stat of the river is low and slow near springfield, and dregging it woudl costs millions upon milliosna nd in the end, it would be filled in again? How about learning some the facts and data, but it is easier to blog away. At least Heather Brandon researches things before she blogs.

At 7:28 AM, Blogger MTA said...

Cool photo and postcard, Bill.

The river is certainly a neglected treasure.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Bill Dusty said...

Brave souls, those who post anonymously ;-)

Okay, first of all, the city could clean up that riverfront any time it so chooses. It is not a matter of being broke. It’s just a matter of setting priorities. We do have a department of public works, remember? Grappling the shoreline for bikes, shopping carts, and furniture is not rocket science. The entire river need not be dredged, but cleaning the shoreline – easily viewable from the Park, should be a priority. It would not necessarily take new funding, but rather a re-allocation of existing funding. State or even federal aid is not out of the question, either. As a riverfront city, keeping our riverfront maintained and usable should be every bit as important as re-designing traffic arteries in Sixteen Acres. We should also find ways to put Riverfront Park to good use. Give it a purpose other than it just being there. It's too far out of the way (with R91, the railroad, and East-West Columbus Ave's dividing it) for residents to just want to visit for a picnic and look out at the trees, bushes, and trash.

As far as the vagrants and addicts roaming the Park goes, assigning police patrols or park rangers (already at Forest Park) would help. It helped Forest Park. Again, we're not talking about *additional* personnel, simply re-assigning current personnel.

The above may not be solutions, but they are at least ideas. Apparently what you two anonymous folks are saying is that we should just accept the way the river is, because it will only get trashed again anyway - let's just live in a dump and accept it. That is a ridiculous, loser mentality – and this city has been stricken by that attitude for too long.

Me bitch? You betcha! That is what residents *should* do when they see something that needs to get done or when their leadership has failed them. See, here’s how it works: we elect leaders to allocate funding and resources for the upkeep of the city’s infrastructure, parks, and public buildings and services. That’s why we pay taxes. When they fail us, or refuse to hear us, then we bitch about it - AND we do not re-elect them (an apparent problem here in Springfield).

So there it is.

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Heather B said...

I just want to say that I absolutely do not research things.

And I'm with Bill, we need to clean up the riverfront and make better use of it. Not going to be an easy task, but it's an important part of a comprehensive vision for the city. There's no harm in sharing ideas and reflecting. It doesn't cost taxpayers money for Bill to ruminate here.

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Bill Dusty said...

Thanks HB ;-)

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