Sunday, October 30, 2016

New executive director has big ideas for Springfield nonprofit

Stephen Plunkard recalled the day he first drove into Springfield in 1978 with his wife and young son. “I saw the church steeple and I thought, this is Mayberry R.F.D.!” he said.    


  1. Now it's more like Mayberry LSD, but seriously, Mr. Plunkard does hit on a very important point; a successful downtown requires people with "some disposable income." Public housing, methadone clinics and the like DO NOT create this environment. People with "disposable income" will very likely move to a town without these things, leaving Springfield to the dregs, and those who profit from them.

  2. Mayberry? Well golly, Mr Plunkard, WELCOME. We need some help.

  3. More public housing on Main Street is NOT going to bring more people with disposable income. The town fathers have really blown it on the Woolson Block. Only time will tell if the SHA turns out to be the "savior" our local officials think it is going to be.

  4. Every major city in America tore down their low income housing projects 20 years ago. High crime and drugs were the reasons. Yet, here in Springfield, they're creating more. The experiment has failed, time to move on.

  5. chuck gregory11/2/16, 10:41 AM

    I ran for selectboard saying that Springfield is in a very advantageous position to attract very smart people with disposable income, and I was defeated by a 2-1 margin. If we do not build it, they will not come. So, let's start attracting those people instead of complaining about people who seem to be already here.

    1. Chuck, the smart people you are referring to accumulated their disposable income by making intelligent choices. That would preclude relocating to Springfield.

      The major obstacle is demographics. This is a community of lazy, selfish, embittered, liberals. A legion of unemployable parasites that by voting for every conceivable amenity have placed a crushing burden on local home owners. A burden so great, young people are flocking elsewhere and property values continue to fall.

      Hardly need to mentioned having one of the worst ranked schools in the state. So explain to me why anyone with ample, disposable income would relocate here?

  6. Another idea he has is to bring a tourism focus to local waterfalls by purchasing laser light show equipment that could potentially draw tourists to shows with seasonally changing production themes such as Christmas, Disney characters, and holidays.

    Always focused on the garnish and empty calories, but never a main course. Springfield will continue to starve until it attracts businesses that can hire and employ professionals and pay well. SOM, SRDC, and all the other false prophets on the town's file have contributed little but hot air and self-promoting dribble.

  7. I'm a retired professional with "some disposable income." Let me give you my perspective. When most young (or old) professionals come to this town, and they stop at the traffic light downtown, this is what they'll see. A battered street leading past a crumbling building (Parks and Woolson) and on one side of the street, a dishevelled man dressed in camo from head to dirty toe, glaring at them. On the other corner, an emaciated, tattoo covered woman with green hair pushing a shopping cart. On another corner, an elderly woman talking to someone who isn't there. And when the light turns green, they'll hit the gas, and they won't look back until they hit the interstate. I looked past these things, and decided to stay, for now. Most professionals are not that open-minded. If you want to attract professionals with money to spend, you must first do two things. First clean up downtown, and all the roads branching off of it, for at least as far as the eye can see. Two, when we DO move here, don't treat us like carpetbeggers who deserve to be bled of every dime we have; we ARE educated enough to notice, and generally smart enough to avoid being scammed. Seriously, it just pisses us off. If you can't handle that, and if you think that we are all elitist swine, then don't expect anyone with "disposable income" to come here, or stay here; prepare to live in a crumbling old town with no one to blame but yourselves. Have a nice day!

  8. George T McNaughton11/4/16, 11:14 AM

    While it is true that housing projects have elsewhere been a problem for the communities in which they have been located. In Springfield we have to distinguish between housing run by the Housing Authority, and housing run by private slumlords. The Housing Authority projects have not been the problem. The same Housing Authority led partnership that acquired and rebuilt the theater with housing upstairs, is the partnership which acquired the Woolson Block. If they do as good a job with the Woolson Block as they did with the theater, it will be beneficial to Springfield's Downtown. The alternative was potentially to have another private owner continue the problems that we had with the Woolson Block. The Housing Authority run facilities downtown are not and have not been the problem, the problem in the Town has been landlords like the prior owner of the Woolson Block.

    1. While I heartily agree that private slumlords are a major problem, I disagree just as heartily that low income housing downtown is a good idea. The solution is, and I quote, "disposable income." People on welfare HAVE NONE. Do I think that the poor should be left on the street? Absolutely not! I am simply questioning the wisdom of putting them downtown. Why not turn the Woolson Block into condos managed by SHA? Owner occupation will create the stability, AND the disposable income that will make downtown prosperous. Might even generate a profit. There are many properties around town that could be used for low income housing, if you must. I may sound like a snob, but the main reason most people work their butts off and go to college, etc. is to AVOID low income housing, whether it's living in it, or living next door to it.


Please keep your comments polite and on-topic.

1st Annual Donald L. Gurney Field Day, May 14, 2016

Video by Chip Howard

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