Moving Pillsbury Forward: Richmond, group set sights on next steps with property in hand

by Steven Spearie

Chris Richmond at the press conference at the Pillsbury site on Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Chris Richmond at the press conference on March 30, 2022.

Chris Richmond admitted Wednesday that the 18-acre former Pillsbury Mills site on Springfield’s north end was the engine that propelled him to a professional life.

Richmond, the president of Moving Pillsbury Forward and the former Springfield fire marshal, also knows it has been “the root cause” of a lot of the demise around the neighborhood.

“It’s a large, blighted piece of property,” Richmond said at a press conference Wednesday in an unlit garage dripping from the outside rain. “We know once we get this property dealt with and removed, it gives the rest of the neighborhood a chance to actually buoy up and shine at a brighter level than it has.”

For Richmond and Moving Pillsbury Forward, the non-profit he helped start up three years ago, the work is just beginning.

Over the weekend, the group was deeded over the property from P Mills LLC for $1.

While Pillsbury has been “a tragic story” for the last decade and a half, Richmond said Wednesday he hoped MPF has turned a corner.

One of the first “next steps,” Richmond said, was contracting with an environmental firm within the next 30 days. By fall, Richmond is hoping to have a final report that will give MPF a roadmap of how to deal with the remediation and demolition activities moving ahead.

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