Pearl and Bridge Street developments
The Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association, which includes residents in a portion of downtown Springfield, held an event on May 17 to honor the opening of their new offices in Kimball Towers on Chestnut Street at Apremont Triangle. Mayor Charles Ryan addressed the group, and G. Michael Dobbs of the Reminder was there to publish a report for this week’s paper. From the article:
Ryan ?announced he will convene a hearing on June 18 [at 3:30 pm, City Hall Room 220] to consider the rescinding of the entertainment license for Amazing.net, the adult entertainment store at Apremont Triangle across from Kimball Towers. He said the Police Department has filed “several serious charges” against the store.
That particular entertainment license hearing seemed for several months to have completely disappeared from anyone’s list of priorities.
The issue arose in a series of Urban Compass interviews with real estate developers and Birnie Building owners Leon Charoudian and Fred Rowe, which focused on their efforts to find a urban grocer tenant on the first floor of their building.
NoPornNorthampton’s Adam Cohen contributed to the discussion by issuing a mailing to 1,700 downtown residents advising them on steps they could take to urge higher standards at the store in question. I haven’t heard any anecdotal evidence about how the mailing was received or perceived by residents; the relative silence on the matter could indicate either neutrality or a somewhat positive reception. According to what residents have told me on this subject, there is much room for improvement at Apremont Triangle with respect to the store in question, and an allegiance to be had with efforts toward public safety and health standards, to say nothing of what great potential exists there if a more friendly environment for development could be created.
One of Cohen’s suggested steps was to mail a postcard to Mayor Ryan, which Cohen handily provided in the mailing. The postcard read, on one side:
Dear Mayor Ryan: Apremont Triangle is ready for revitalization, but it needs your help. Please help us balance the rights of adult enterprises with the desire of residents to live in safe, prosperous neighborhoods.
And on the other:
3 Suggestions for Improving Apremont Triangle:
1. Pass viewing booth health regulations, including removing the doors from the booths.
2. Shut down the Springfield Amazing.net porn shop as a public nuisance. Evidence suggests that it is a locus of crime and prostitution, and repels sought-after businesses.
3. Pass improved adult-use zoning regulations for Springfield, to put a reasonable distance between adult enterprises and homes, schools, and houses of worship.
Cohen issued a press release after the mailing, and eventually did see a recent front-page article in the Republican as well as ongoing covering in the Gazette resulting from those efforts. Cohen planned to attend the AQCA event as well.
Mayor Ryan also addressed Pearl Street re-paving and park improvements there. More from Dobbs’s article:
Ninety thousand dollars have been set aside by the city to begin the renovation of the [Armoury] Commons Park [pictured], Ryan added. He said that within two weeks officials from the city’s Parks department would meet with AQCA members to hear their ideas about the park. Ryan said he doubted that $90,000 could pay for the entire renovation, but it would be a start.
He also said that Spring, Eliot and Pearl Streets would be re-surfaced with federal funding. He called them among the worse streets in the city.
The AQCA May membership notes (PDF) add that the funds to improve Armoury Commons Park will become available July 1. “The mayor mentioned repairs to the park’s fountain as an obvious first step in revitalizing the park,” the notes add.