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Springfield College To Secure Acquisition Fund For Neighborhood Housing Collaborative

June 21, 2006

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., June 21, 2006 -- Future new homes in Old Hill moved from a plan to an impending reality today when Springfield College announced that it will secure a $1.5 million property acquisition fund for The Neighborhood Collaborative LLC.

This acquisition fund will allow the collaborative to borrow money at below market rates from TD Banknorth to acquire property for building or rehabilitating housing. Springfield College has agreed to open and maintain a depository relationship with TD Banknorth during the term of the agreement. The collaborative is planning to acquire property for 100 homes during the next five years with construction beginning on 11 properties this summer. The affordable homes will be for owner-occupants.

Springfield College President Richard B. Flynn announced the college’s commitment to the loan fund today at a PROHill (Partnership for the Renewal of Old Hill) celebration of progress on neighborhood improvement during the past three years. At the event, Flynn led a ceremonial shovel-turning with Springfield Mayor Charles V. Ryan Jr. and leaders of the The Neighborhood Collaborative LLC.

“Springfield College is proud to be a partner in this major initiative to make our neighborhood a better place for living, working and learning,” Flynn said. “Until today, new housing in Old Hill has been a hope, but now, through this fund, the collaborative can acquire property so that construction can begin. I am especially enthusiastic about the real transformation that we will be celebrating in the next few years.” Flynn said.

Response to the college’s announcement was positive from Springfield Mayor Charles V. Ryan Jr. and partnering organizations in the collaborative: the Old Hill Neighborhood Council; Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc.; Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity; and HAP, Inc.

Ryan said “The revitalization and economic recovery of Greater Springfield depends, in part, on there being quality, affordable housing for families and individuals who want to own their homes in our city. Thanks to Springfield College, this fund will provide the financial means to build the homes for a stable, safe, and vital neighborhood.”

Omega Johnson, president of the Old Hill Neighborhood Council, said, “We have a dream of a better neighborhood where people own their homes, where safety is improved, and where there are excellent educational and recreational facilities for everyone. Now that Springfield College has secured this fund, the dream is moving toward reality.”

Peter Gagliardi, executive director of HAP, Inc., said, “Transforming vacant lots and abandoned houses into new homes for first time homebuyers is key to the transformation of the Old Hill Neighborhood. We appreciate the leadership role Springfield College is playing in securing an acquisition fund that will provide an essential tool for the collaborative to use in acquiring property for new homes in Old Hill.”

Securing the property acquisition fund is Springfield College’s latest contribution to revitalizing Old Hill. In 2003, the college was a PROHill founding partner, along with the Old Hill Neighborhood Council and the City of Springfield. The college partnered with the city and the Old Hill Neighborhood Council to financially support the creation of the Old Hill master plan, which started PROHill. The 15-year plan was developed as a blueprint for transforming Old Hill into a model of infrastructure, safety, owner-occupied housing, educational resources, and recreational space. The master plan was based on input from more than 350 individuals, organizations, businesses, churches and city departments.

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