Over the past four years with Bill Sapelli, the Mayor’s Office has accomplished a wide array of significant achievements and benchmarks spanning the most pressing issues for Agawam and has ensured the town’s primary systems remained up and running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Agawam was one of the six communities to participate in the COVID-19 vaccination site at The Big E, increasing the availability of appointments for residents.
- The Bethany Assembly of God church was a vaccine host site in January, allowing hundreds of first responders to get the vaccination and continue their crucial work.
- In partnership with the Mayor’s Office, the Agawam Health Department managed all town operations related to the pandemic, providing safety guidelines and ensuring local restaurants and businesses were in compliance with mandates.
- In partnership with the Mayor’s Office, the Health Department provided weekly community COVID-19 infection and recovery statistics, offered crucial information via the internet and cable programming, and supplied vaccination services to first responders and Agawam residents over the age of 75.
- The Morgan-Sullivan Bridge Replacement Project, which had been in the works for years, was completed ahead of time due to the Mayor’s cooperation with state government, the Agawam City Council and the Mayor of West Springfield.
- Over the past four years, innumerable sidewalks and roads were repaved and new sidewalks were installed, providing residents with safe paths to commute throughout the city.
- There have been numerous intersection improvements to enhance safety on the roads, notably:
- Pine Street and South Westfield Street to improve drainage and safety
- Springfield Street and Walnut Street to provide smoother traffic flow and access to businesses
- Additional planned projects for the Suffield Street/Rowley Street/Cooper Street intersection and O’Brien’s Corner
- In regard to safety during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Agawam schools offered a hybrid model for attendance with a fully remote option, which included:
- Availability of Google Chromebooks to all remote students
- Availability of safe, uninterrupted transportation for any student
- Thorough and regular disinfecting and HVAC services, ensuring clean learning environments
- Modified athletics and extracurricular activities offered within guidelines and mandates
- Grab-N-Go meals provided to any student in need at no cost
- In addition to the early hybrid model, the town was also one of the first in the area to have students back in school full time on April 1, safely allowing for a productive education.
- “Governing together” has been one of the Sapelli administration’s primary goals, to establish good working relationships with the school committee and city council. In contrast to the previous administration, the working relationships with both groups have been positive and productive for the betterment of Agawam and its residents.
- All public safety branches remained fully operational and ran uninterrupted throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The town adopted a mutual aid cross-staffing agreement with six other communities in the event of a critical staffing shortage.
- The town successfully implemented centralized dispatch operations for the Agawam Police Department and Agawam Fire Department.
- The town ensured that paramedics were provided to each school on a daily basis to assist with pandemic assessments.
- The Mayor’s Office coordinated with the Agawam Health Department and the Agawam Fire Department to establish a community COVID-19 testing site at Six Flags New England.
- The office helped to ensure the continued success of the yearly toy and food drives despite the pandemic.
Planning and Economic
- The Mayor’s Office addressed the long running issue of blighted properties in Agawam, taking action to successfully lower the blight percentage.
- Business is booming: more businesses have opened up in town including retail, restaurants, corporate and medical sectors.
- The Agawam Industrial Park is occupied by more businesses than ever before.
- HP Hood purchased the former Southworth Paper manufacturing plant and will create many jobs as part of this expansion.
- The city will upgrade to energy-efficient LED street lights within the next couple of years, saving a projected $218,000 every year.
- Two more solar fields will be built at the former Tuckahoe Turf Farm, a property which had been purchased by the city nearly three decades ago and left without a plan.
- Seven electric vehicle (EV) charges have been installed within Agawam, preparing the community for an adoption of green technology.
- New grants acquired:
- $360,000 in total Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for various small businesses
- $178,000 in green community grants to retrofit existing energy systems (lights, HVAC and generators) at Agawam Junior and Senior High Schools, with an estimated savings of $58,000 annually
- $217,000 in Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grants to create the Stormwater Master Plan, which was recognized by state officials as a model program to mitigate the impacts of climate change
- Transportation has increased for the Agawam Senior Center:
- The town purchased more vehicles and added more stops to the routes to increase availability for seniors.
- Agawam’s is one of the only senior centers to partner with the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) to provide transportation for more than 2,500 rides.
- The senior center staff was instrumental in providing and scheduling local resident vaccinations to help the Health Department.
- The senior center was the first in the Greater Springfield area to offer Grab-N-Go curbside meals, providing more than 12,000 meals to seniors.
- A partnership was formed with the Foodbank of Western Massachusetts to provide Brown Bag food distribution. In addition, groceries were made available to seniors in need of assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Entertainment was consistently provided to seniors during the pandemic:
- A holiday show created with other area senior centers aired on MassAppeal in mid-December.
- Weekly Bingo was converted to an online and cable program through Agawam Media.
Parks and Recreation
- The past few years have seen a major turnaround for the Agawam Municipal Golf Course, which is finally profitable under the direction of Thomas DiRico.
- Youth tennis, track, golf and field hockey, as well as men’s softball, were offered within COVID-19 safety guidelines.
- The town saw increased use of tennis and pickleball courts, as well as the skate park.
- Perry Lane Pool was made available to Agawam residents who have a purchased pool pass.
- Renovations were made to Borgatti field, including new fences and backstop installations.
- A new playground was installed at Granger Elementary School.
The last year was exceptionally challenging for all communities, but Agawam was able to persevere with minimal disruption to continued operations and responsibilities. This achievement would not have been possible without the dedicated and extraordinary efforts of the town’s medical professionals, first responders, educators and business community. Because of these successes, we are able to look forward as a cohesive community and continue to build upon the accomplishments we have already established.