SPRINGFIELD — In the aftermath of a 2016 fire and years of legal issues, the city is accepting bids to begin the cleanup of the blighted Massachusetts Career Development Institute property on Wilbraham Avenue.
Mayor Domenic J. Sano, in a news release Friday, said city officials and the neighborhood are committed to “getting this monstrosity down for the betterment of the area.” He also referred to the site as a “monstrosity” earlier this year in seeking to press forward with demolition.
The city is accepting bids for the removal and disposal of asbestos-containing debris left behind by the 2016 blaze. The bids are due by Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. at the Office of Procurement at City Hall.
After that first phase, the city will accept bids, anticipated this winter, for the demolition of the still-standing building, said Timothy Sheehan, the city’s chief development officer.
Once the 2.57-acre property is demolished and cleared, a portion will be used for a new park to replace Deberry Park. The city will pursue alternative uses for the remaining portion, Sheehan said.
The cleanup is among many improvements occurring in the Mason Square area, Sheehan and Sarno said. The Indian Motocycle block is being redeveloped for apartments, and plans are also proceeding for an apartment complex at the nearby Knox building on Wilbraham Road.
The Career Development Institute was a major job training center in Springfield for 40 years before closing in 2013. The fire, which destroyed the main building, was set by three teenagers, all arrested and later convicted of arson.
Sarno said efforts to address the property were tied up in court for years “due to a host of complicated issues including delinquent taxes, numerous building and code violations, and issues involving the previous owners existing only on paper.”
The Career Development Institute site was owned by a nonprofit corporation, but its board of directors became inactive even before the fire, city officials said. The city took ownership of the property through foreclosure.
“Due to the condition and size of the parcels involved, it is not going to be cheap to clean up, but it’s the right thing to do,” Sarno said, citing the need to protect the quality of life in the area.
Sheehan said the various improvements are part of the ongoing “transformation of the Mason Square area.” That includes plans for construction of a new Homer-Deberry School on the site of the existing Deberry School and Deberry Park.
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