Springfield residents look forward to brighter city after 2011 tornado

People are looking forward to a stronger city after the devastation

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield’s South End can look forward to a rebuilt future, following the devastating tornado six years ago.

It may have been six years ago when that funnel of fury crossed the river carving a path of destruction, but for Springfield residents who lived through that day, it seems just like yesterday.

“I remember watching 22News and watching the tornado go over the bridge in Springfield. There you see it, right there, we’ve got some debris on the ground,” Brandon Chabot of Springfield told 22News.

22News skycam captured the tornado that Springfield residents would never forget. Six years of literal blood, sweat and tears have brought us here. To Springfield’s South End and MGM’s nearly $1 billion investment.

Antonio Caputo is the owner of Red Rose and he told 22News the South End is in the middle of a rebirth.

“After the tornado it was like a war zone down here. We were one of the last businesses left standing,” Caputo told 22News. “MGM was sort of a savior to come in and take these nine blocks and turn them around.”

The old South End Community Center, where you can still see where part of the building was torn away, is now part of MGM’s reintegration plan to be transformed into a possible speakeasy.

But the casino hasn’t erased all the scars, both physical and emotional. People told 22News Wednesday night’s hailstorm brought back the memories.

“Every storm you worry. I ran outside and looked at all the clouds and yes, you do worry, but thank God you don’t have the trees now,” Helen Tuzzio of Springfield said.

But six years later, people are ready to look forward to a brighter future in a stronger Springfield. From devastation, to transformation. One nail at a time.

“Even if your own physical home wasn’t destroyed. This is our city. We live here. We are proud of our city. To see that destruction and to see where it’s come. Sometimes these crisis present an opportunity,” John Mayock of Springfield told 22News.

The tornadoes of June 1, 2011, caused an estimated $140 million in damage. In Springfield alone 300 people were injured and more than 500 were made homeless.

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