New dam will protect Springfield neighborhoods, Baystate Medical Center from flood

$2 million in funding for Van Horn Park dam coming from state, MassMutual

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Big contributions from the state and a major local company are designed to keep Springfield’s Liberty Heights and North End neighborhoods safe in the event of a major storm for the next 200 years.

A new $2 million earthen dam is now being constructed at the Lower Reservoir at Van Horn Park. Congressman Richard Neal and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno were at the park for a groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning.

Springfield Buildings and Parks Director Patrick Sullivan told 22News that that there is concern that a good-sized storm could cause the current dam to fail. “Baystate Medical Center is that first thing that water would have hit,” he explained, adding that “if you watched the news, what happened in North Carolina could happen here.”

The money for its construction comes from the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Springfield-based MassMutual.

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