Mason Square residents were treated to a welcomed sight last week: a large moving van outside of 765 State St.
The van was there to move the Springfield Urban League to its new home on the campus of Springfield Technical Community College—opening the way, finally, for the restoration of a full library for the neighborhood.
It’s been more than seven years since the Urban League bought the then-library building in a secretive deal, and more than a year since the City Council took the building by eminent domain. With the Urban League, after many delays, finally vacating the premises, the newly restored branch is expected to open in late January, with an official grand opening tentatively scheduled for Feb. 24.
The Urban League’s move means the City Council won’t vote on an eviction order to force the agency out of 765 State. At the Council’s last meeting, the agenda included an order to authorize Mayor Domenic Sarno to approve an eviction warrant. City Solicitor Ed Pikula, citing a promise by the Urban League to be out of the building by Nov. 15, advised the Council to table that vote until after the 15th. Some councilors, however, were wary of taking the Urban League at its word, given the number of earlier moving dates that came and went without movement. Councilor Tim Rooke accused the Urban League of trying to “bully” the city and urged an eviction vote. In the end, he was joined by two other councilors— Clodo Concepcion and Jimmy Ferrera—in opposition to a proposal by Council President Jose Tosado to table the matter until after the 15th.
Tosado, meanwhile, had scheduled a special meeting for Nov. 16 for the Council to vote on the eviction order if the Urban League was not out of the building by that date. That meeting was cancelled earlier today, in light of the Urban League’s long-overdue removal from 765 State St.