SPRINGFIELD — The building at 157 Pine St. served the people of Springfield for generations as a fire station, before being retired from service 25 years ago and converted into 16 studio and one-bedroom apartments. Today it’s home to people with developmental disabilities who receive support services through MHA.
During the conversion to apartments, the building’s heating system received some upgrades, but time has taken its toll. “Our facilities team has managed to keep the heating system afloat, but Band-Aid fixes can only do so much for so long,” said Kimberley Lee, vice president of Resource Development & Branding for MHA. “It’s just a matter of time before it will fail, and then we’d face the enormous challenge of trying to find places to live for all these folks, on top of finding a way to get the old heating system to work again. The obvious solution is a new heating system, but that would only be possible with the support of a community partner.”
Lee reached out to the Beveridge Family Foundation and made a grant request for $50,000 to fund the project. After evaluating the project, the Beveridge Foundation awarded MHA the full amount.
“Because of this generous grant, MHA is now able to request bids for a full-scale heating-plant renovation,” Lee said. “The result will be a more reliable, more energy-efficient heat and hot-water system to keep our residents safe and comfortable. What’s more, with new technology and warranties in place, our facilities team and outreach staff will have peace of mind that enables them to focus on what matters: the people we serve. We expect to move forward with the project in the spring. We are excited that we’ll be able to invest in a system that is built to last for many, many years to come.”
Ward Caswell, Beveridge Family Foundation president, noted that MHA has a “strong record of impactful service and financial stability, they have demonstrated their ability to meet a critical community need, and they work to support vulnerable persons who need our help. Having a significant role in an agency’s ability to directly impact the overall health and wellness of the persons they serve is incredibly satisfying.”