In the News

Mayor Sarno, Congressman Neal and State Representative Williams Joined with City and Other Officials for Update on Watershops Pond Project

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Congressman Richard E. Neal and State Representative Bud L. Williams joined with city and other officials for an update on the temporary drawdown of the Watershops Pond.

The City of Springfield is beginning the temporary drawdown process for Watershops Pond, also known as Lake Massasoit.  The bottom of the pond is deeper than the low-level outlets at the dam; thus, a residual pool will remain in the deepest portions of the pond basin. 

Mayor Sarno states, “This drawdown is necessary to complete the much needed resiliency improvement work for the Watershops Dam.  Since enduring two federally declared disasters in 2011, the city has initiated several programs related to community resiliency and disaster preparedness.  This project meets two goals set by my administration:  Removing the Watershops Dam from the state’s High Hazard category, and implementing green energy-efficient measures by installing solar panels at the Brookings School. In the future, this school can be used as an emergency shelter due to electricity produced by the solar panels.  Successful implementation of the proposed repairs will bring Springfield significantly closer to creating a more resilient community prepared to face the challenges of climate change.  I want to thank Congressman Neal for identifying and securing federal funding for the City for this vital and lifesaving project.”

“The improvements to the Watershops Pond Dam will mean increased safety for residents living near this watersource,” said Congressman Neal. “The project will address the dam’s “high risk” designation and minimize the risk of flooding in the future. The South End neighborhood will benefit greatly from this project and I am happy we were able to secure federal dollars to ensure it gets done.”

State Representative Williams stated, “I want to thank Congressman Neal, Mayor Sarno and the entire City team for their hard work on this project.  The drawdown of the pond will allow workers to not just clean the waterway from debris, including materials from the tornado, but will also allow workers to continue with their infrastructure improvement work on the Watershops Dam, which is needed to provide a safe infrastructure system to protect our residents and businesses.  Once completed, this will remove the Watershops Dam from the ‘high-risk’ designation.”       

The schedule for drawdown is as follows:


Target Date to Commence Drawdown:

October 26, 2020

Target Date to Attain Full Drawdown:

November 7, 2020

Normal Water Surface Elevation of Watershops Pond:

154.3± feet above sea level (NAVD88)

Normal Area of Watershops Pond:

192.6± acres

Water Surface Elevation of Residual Pool during Drawdown:


140.5± feet above sea level (NAVD88)

Area of Residual Pool during Drawdown:

20± acres

Deepest Point Within Watershops Pond:

135.8± feet above sea level (NAVD88)

Target Date to Commence Refilling of Watershops Pond:

April 1, 2022

Target Date to Complete Refilling of Watershops Pond:

April 22, 2022


The temporary drawdown of Watershops Pond was selected as the preferred alternative for water control during the dam improvement project.  An alternative analysis and the selected alternative are discussed in detail in the Environmental Impact Report prepared for the Project.  That document is available here:

Should the dam repairs be completed sooner than anticipated by the Project schedule, the City may refill the pond in the fall of 2021, if weather events provide sufficient rainfall to do so.  Please note that the target dates are approximate and actual times to complete the drawdown or refilling of the pond will be dependent on weather conditions during the operations.

In addition, the property owner of 1 Allen Street, Atlanta-based Built Partnership is investing $5-$7 million to perform extensive renovations to the Watershops Armory while carefully preserving its historic, iconic character.  The work includes repairs to aging masonry and windows as well as various interior refits.  “We believe we are making this investment at just the right time,” said Neel Shah, Chief Development Officer of Built.  “We believe the Watershops Armory is going to become an important anchor property for the coming renewal of multiple surrounding neighborhoods, and are excited to help write the next chapter in the amazing story of this historic property”

Also in attendance at the site update were Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreational Management (PBRM) Patrick Sullivan; Deputy Director of PBRM Peter Krupczak; Director of Disaster Recovery Tina Quagliato Sullivan; Director of Capital Asset Construction Peter Garvey; Springfield College Vice President for Communications and External Affairs; Frank Ryan representing the East Forest Park Civic Association; and representatives from GZA, Inc.

Please direct any questions or comments to the contact below:

Tina Quagliato Sullivan, Director of Disaster Recovery


Phone: (413) 750-2114

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm