News & Resources

Smart Growth Project: Watershops District Revitalization Plan, Springfield

The Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance recognizes smart growth projects and planning/zoning initiatives across the Commonwealth. This project is one of many that were featured at our 2013 conference. See other examples


The Watershops District Revitalization Plan focuses on revitalization strategies within sections of the Six Corners and Old Hill neighborhoods in Springfield. The plan is a continuation of ReBuild Springfield and focuses on redevelopment of Old Brookings School into housing and community areas; development of owner-occupied single-family housing on vacant lots with a higher density; three mixed-use centers; revitalization of Ruth Elizabeth Park; incorporation of pedestrian-friendly features such as street crossings and benches; and new alternative transportation and open space connections.

Opportunities: The opportunities for this plan included the availability of vacant lots that can be redeveloped as new owner-occupied housing; historic structures located in dense and walkable areas; collaboration with Springfield College; and several existing parks that could be improved and become greater neighborhood assets.

Challenges: Challenges identified include: illegal activities in the neighborhood as a whole and parks in particular; neighborhood perception that constrains redevelopment and reinvestment; concentrated areas of vacant parcels and buildings; lack of parking options for businesses; lack of funding options for redevelopment activities; and absentee landlords who do not maintain properties.

Project Team: Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, HAPHousing, MHSC Neighborhood Council, Rosemary Morin, Alicia Zoeller, Brookings Elementary School

Cost: Not Available

Units: 30 new housing units, 26 rebuilt housing units

Funding Sources: Barr Foundation

Contact: Josiah Neiderbach, Planner, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission,