Interstate 91: You know it. Perhaps you even drive it daily. Although the highway itself is well-known, the needs of one community beneath it are not. Over the next few months, WGBY offers a platform for dialogue about those needs.
Springfield’s German Gerena Community School, serving 700 children in the city’s North End, stands literally at the center of this story. Because of the building’s close proximity to I-91, a tunnel was built on the lower level of the school so that students and members of the larger community, divided once the interstate was constructed, could safely walk from one side of their neighborhood to the other.
The tunnel became more than a passageway linking Plainfield and Main Streets. A generation grew up knowing and using vibrant community services within the space.
Over time, leaks and flooding not only resulted in structural damage to the tunnel but empty rooms that residents once filled.
Now, discussions between city leaders and residents could lead to change within the tunnel. Connecting Point will look at all angles of this story in a special series called “Divided We Stand: A Street in Our School.” You’ll learn the history of the school, tunnel and organizations that filled it. Watch and then tell us what you think. Just click on the “contact us” tab on this site.
On March 14, we begin our series with a discussion about the school and the status of repairs to the tunnel with Mayor Dominic Sarno and School Superintendent Daniel Warwick.