Connecticut River Walk Park

The Connecticut River Walk is partially constructed park and bikeway in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States, along the banks of New England's largest river, the Connecticut River. Currently, Springfield's section of this park is 3.7 miles long, running from Chicopee, Massachusetts to the South End Bridge in Springfield, Massachusetts. Unique features of the trail include its path alongside an active - and soon-to-be the United States' first high-speed - train line, making it a "rail-with-trail," and its passing in very close proximity to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.[1] The longest river in New England, the Connecticut River is the Knowledge Corridor's most prominent natural asset. For centuries it has been a source of regional identity and pride; however, currently most residents are cut off from it by Interstate 91 - a 1960s-era elevated highway, which has become a major inhibitor to Springfield's economic and recreational riverfront growth, especially in recent years.[2]

Connecticut River Walk Park, Springfield MA
The River Walk, looking north toward the Hampden County Memorial Bridge

Proposed additions

The Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway is under development, and the first two sections are open to the public. The segment in Springfield itself is 3.7 miles long, and a second segment in Agawam, Massachusetts, is 1.7 miles long. In total, the route is planned to run for 20 miles, through city-owned floodplain alongside the Connecticut River.[3]

Interstate 91 inhibiting access to the Connecticut River Walk

Since the 1960s, Springfielders have been cut off from the economic and recreational development opportunities of the Connecticut River by Interstate 91.[2][4] Connecticut River Walk & Bikeway was conceived to revitalize the Connecticut Riverfront, restoring it as a focus of life in the region. Unfortunately, Interstate 91 and its tangential developments - for example, above-grade parking lots built underneath it; tall, earthen, grassy mounds constructed beside it; and even double-sided, 20-foot limestone walls between the city and the river- pose formidable barriers to pedestrians reaching the Connecticut River Walk from Metro Center, Springfield, Massachusetts.[5][5]

The park features one 60 foot-tall footbridge behind LA Fitness in the Basketball Hall of Fame complex that allows visitors access to the river walk. The 3.7 mile park features two other entrance points. As of 2011, a testament to how difficult it is to reach the Connecticut River Walk is how infrequently the park is used for passive recreation. In 2011, on Wednesdays at 12:15pm, the city of Springfield holds "lunchtime walks" to "promote" the park.[1][6]

In 2010, Boston's Urban Land Institute proposed a vision for reuniting Springfield with its riverfront; however, as of 2011, Interstate 91 remains a physical barrier between Springfield, the Connecticut River, and the Basketball Hall of Fame.[7] It remains to be seen whether Interstate 91 will be re-routed to its originally planned route along West Springfield's Riverdale Road, (the original highway construction for I-91,) freeing up Springfield's most valuable land; or whether officials will demolish large portions of the highway's tangential developments, making it easier to access the riverfront; or whether some compromise will be reached.[7][8]

References

  1. ^ a b "Home / Parks / Parks Facilities and Use / River Walk". Website of Springfield City Council. Springfield City Council. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Making Connections - Envisioning Springfield's North End". ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst. University of Massachusetts - Amherst. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Home / Parks / Parks Facilities and Use / River Walk / More about River Walk". Website of Springfield City Council. Springfield City Council. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Not found". Homepage.mac.com. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Springfield Parking Authority (SPA)". Parkspa.com. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ a b http://www.springfieldcityhall.com/planning/fileadmin/Planning_files/1200_Hall_of_Fame_Building_Plans/Springfield_TAP_Presentation_FINAL_diagrams.pdf
  8. ^ http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=larp_ms_projects&sei-redir=1#search=%22umass%201-91%20urban%20design%20springfield%22

Coordinates: 42°5′53.07″N 72°35′26.05″W / 42.0980750°N 72.5905694°W

2011 New England tornado outbreak

On June 1, 2011, seven tornadoes appeared in Massachusetts' Connecticut River Valley and southern Maine, damaging large sections of Springfield, Massachusetts and its surrounding region, killing three people, injuring 300 in Springfield alone, and leaving at least 500 people homeless.

Climate of Massachusetts

The climate of Massachusetts is mainly

a humid continental climate, with warm summers and cold, snowy winters. Massachusetts is a]] located in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Most of its population of 6.4 million live in the Boston metropolitan area. The eastern half of this relatively small state is mostly urban and suburban. Massachusetts is the most populous of the six New England states and ranks third in overall population density and fourth by GDP per capita. Massachusetts receives about 43 inches (1016 mm) of rain annually, fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, slightly wetter during the winter. Summers are warm with average high temperatures in July above 80 °F (26.7 °C) and overnight lows above 60 °F (15.5 °C) common throughout the state. Winters are cold, but generally less extreme on the coast with high temperatures in the winter averaging above freezing even in January, although areas further inland are much colder. The state does have extreme temperatures from time to time with 90 °F (32.2 °C) in the summer and temperatures below 0 °F (-17.8 °C) in the winter not being unusual.The state has its share of extreme weather, prone to nor'easters and to severe winter storms. Summers can bring thunderstorms, averaging around 30 days of thunderstorm activity per year. Massachusetts averages one tornado per year. Massachusetts, like the entire United States eastern seaboard, is vulnerable to hurricanes. Because its location is farther east in the Atlantic Ocean than states farther south, Massachusetts has suffered a direct hit from a major hurricane three times since 1851, the same number of direct hits suffered by the southern Atlantic state of Georgia. More often hurricanes weakened to tropical storm strength pass near Massachusetts.With the exception of extreme southern Connecticut, all of New England has a humid continental climate or in a broad transition zone, with hot summers and cold winters. Owing to thick deciduous forests, fall in New England brings bright and colorful foliage, which comes earlier than in other regions, attracting tourism. Springs are generally wet and cloudy. Average rainfall generally ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 mm (40 to 60 in) a year. Snowfall can often exceed 100 in (2,500 mm) annually.

History of Springfield, Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts, was founded in 1636 as Agawam, the northernmost settlement of the Connecticut Colony. The settlement defected from Connecticut after four years, however, later joining forces with the coastal Massachusetts Bay Colony. The town changed its name to Springfield, and changed the political boundaries among what later became New England states. The history of Springfield, Massachusetts springs in large part from its favorable geography, situated on a steep bluff overlooking the Connecticut River's confluence with three tributaries. It was an ancient Indian crossroad for two major trade routes: Boston-to-Albany and New York City-to-Montreal. Springfield also sits on some of the northeastern United States' most fertile soil.Springfield flourished as a trading post and agricultural center until 1675's King Philip's War, when a coalition of Indians laid siege to Springfield and later burned it to the ground. Its prosperity waned for the next hundred years but, in 1777, Revolutionary War leaders made it a National Armory to store weapons, and in 1795 it began manufacturing muskets. Until 1968, the Armory made small arms. Its first American muskets (1794) were followed by the famous Springfield rifle and the revolutionary M1 Garand and M14s. The Springfield Armory attracted generations of skilled laborers to the city, making it the United States' longtime center for precision manufacturing (comparable to a Silicon Valley of the Industrial Revolution). The Armory's near-capture during Shays Rebellion of 1787 was among the troubles that prompted the U.S. Constitutional Convention later that year.Innovations in the 19th and 20th centuries include the first American English dictionary (1805, Noah Webster), the first use of interchangeable parts and the assembly line in manufacturing (1819, Thomas Blanchard), the first American horseless car (1825, again Thomas Blanchard), vulcanized rubber (1844, Charles Goodyear), the first American gasoline-powered car (1893, Duryea Brothers), the first American motorcycle company (1901, "Indian"), an early commercial radio station (1921, WBZ, and most famously, the world's third-most-popular sport of basketball (1891, Dr. James Naismith).

Interstate 91

Interstate 91 (I-91) is an Interstate Highway in the New England region of the United States. It provides the primary north–south thoroughfare in the western part of the region. The Interstate's southern end is in New Haven, Connecticut, at Interstate 95 and its northern end is at Derby Line, Vermont, a village in the town of Derby at the Canadian border, where it continues past the Derby Line-Rock Island Border Crossing as Autoroute 55. I-91 is the longest of three Interstate highways whose entire route is located within the New England states (the other two highways being I-89 and I-93) and is also the only primary (two-digit) Interstate Highway in New England to intersect all five of the others that run through the region. The largest cities along its route are New Haven, Connecticut, Hartford, Connecticut, Springfield, Massachusetts, Brattleboro, Vermont, White River Junction, Vermont, and St. Johnsbury, Vermont in order from south to north.

Metro Center, Springfield, Massachusetts

Metro Center is the original colonial settlement of Springfield, Massachusetts, located beside a bend in the Connecticut River. As of 2019, Metro Center features a majority of Western Massachusetts' most important cultural, business, and civic venues. Metro Center includes Springfield's Central Business District, its Club Quarter, its government center, its convention headquarters, and in recent years, it has become an increasingly popular residential district, especially among young professionals, empty-nesters, and creative types, with a population of approximately 7,000 (2010.)

Metro Center is physically separated from the Connecticut River by Interstate 91 – a 1958 urban renewal project that separated the city from its riverfront.

Sixteen Acres

Sixteen Acres is a neighborhood in Springfield, Massachusetts. Much of the neighborhood was constructed after World War II and is suburban in character.Sixteen Acres includes Western New England University, the SABIS International High School, Pioneer Valley Christian Academy, and the 18-hole, Veterans Memorial Golf Course. Besides streets of newer ranches, colonials, split-levels, and capes, the neighborhood has large condominium complexes on Nassau Drive. Sixteen Acres also features the 28-acre (11 ha) Greenleaf Park, a recently expanded branch library, and two private beach clubs (Bass Pond and the Paddle Club). Commercial clusters on Wilbraham Road and Allen Street provide convenient shopping, including the recently opened Fresh Acres Market.

Sixteen Acres residents have a quick drive to East Longmeadow's employers, such as Hasbro and American Saw, as well as a short drive up Parker Street to the Massachusetts Turnpike.In the early 1900s Theodore Granger (Granger Street) bought a parcel of land which was 16 acres in size in pursuit of his dream to become a farmer. Unfortunately his skills at farming were less than his skills as a carpenter and the farm did not thrive but parcels of land were given to family members and also sold.

Springfield, Massachusetts

Springfield is a city in the state of Massachusetts, United States, and the seat of Hampden County. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers: the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern Mill River. As of the 2010 Census, the city's population was 153,060. As of 2017, the estimated population was 154,758, making it the third-largest city in Massachusetts, the fourth-most populous city in New England after Boston, Worcester, and Providence, and the 12th-most populous in the Northeastern United States. Metropolitan Springfield, as one of two metropolitan areas in Massachusetts (the other being Greater Boston), had a population of 692,942 as of 2010.The first Springfield in the New World, during the American Revolution, George Washington designated it as the site of the Springfield Armory for its central location, subsequently the site of Shays' Rebellion. The city would also play a pivotal role in the Civil War, as a major stop on the Underground Railroad and home of abolitionist John Brown, best known for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and for the Armory's manufacture of the famed "Springfield rifles" used ubiquitously by Union troops. Closing during the Johnson administration, today the national park historic site features the largest collection of historic American firearms in the world. Today the city is the largest in western New England, and the urban, economic, and media capital of Massachusetts' section of the Connecticut River Valley, colloquially known as the Pioneer Valley.

Springfield has several nicknames – "The City of Firsts", due to the many innovations developed there, such as the first American dictionary, the first American gas-powered automobile, and the first machining lathe for interchangeable parts; "The City of Homes", due to its Victorian residential architecture; and "Hoop City", as basketball – one of the world's most popular sports – was invented in Springfield in 1891 by James Naismith.

Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, lies 24 miles (39 km) south of Springfield, on the western bank of the Connecticut River. The Hartford-Springfield region is known as the Knowledge Corridor because it hosts over 160,000 university students and over 32 universities and liberal arts colleges – the second-highest concentration of higher-learning institutions in the United States. The city of Springfield itself is home to Springfield College, Western New England University, American International College, and Springfield Technical Community College, among other higher educational institutions.

Symbols of Springfield, Massachusetts

The City of Springfield, Massachusetts has two official symbols, and is also often represented by depictions of the Municipal Group as a de facto emblem of its government.

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