SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Bright Nights at Forest Park is set to open for another season of holiday lights this week, and a new building at the park will be part of the behind-the-scenes work to make the magic happen.
Late Monday morning, the Spirit of Springfield held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new, more than $3 million John J. Shea Bright Nights Technical Training Facility. The center provides an opportunity for local students to develop their skills in the building trades, by working on equipment used in the holiday lighting display. Union members will instruct the students in a variety of skills, including carpentry, electrical work, welding, and painting.
“It gives the men who have worked on bright nights since its inception a proper, appropriate place to work,” said President of the Spirit of Springfield, Judy Matt.
Mayor Domenic Sarno and Congressman Richard Neal (D-Springfield) were among those in attendance at Monday’s ribbon cutting ceremony. The facility was built with nearly $2 million in funding from the city, in addition to $1.29 million from a federal taxpayer-funded grant.
“It’s also going to bring our local union trades, vocational schools under one roof so they can get technical training, and they’ll actually be using some of the displays in that training process so, bright nights family is growing by bringing the regional employment on board with all these unions,” said Executive Director of Parks, Buildings & Recreation, Patrick Sullivan.
The facility will enable up to 65 new job placements during its first year of operation.
Bright Nights at Forest Park begins Wednesday night at 5:00 P.M., and runs every night through January 1- with the exception of November 28 and 29.