1. Offer low-interest loans for window restoration: Cooperative Banks and Community Development Block Grant funds could offer low-interest loans to low-income homeowners to restore and retrofit windows for energy efficiency. Pre-approved loans are a common tool used by salesmen of new replacement windows. Some homeowners have spent many thousands of dollars unnecessarily simply because they could get a loan to replace their windows. Loans to re-use windows have triple-value: improved living conditions for homeowners and tenants, jobs and skill-building for workers, quality windows and energy improvements for property-owners.
2. Educate Homeowners: An Information Sheet comparing replacement windows to restored windows could be available at the Building Inspector’s Office when property owners apply for permits to replace their windows.
3. Offer Window Restoration vs. Replacement: Property managers and owners could be required to get window restoration bids along with their application to replace windows. Building Permits could require an estimate of the cost of replacing demolished windows, as well as reusable doors, interior trim and flooring.
4. Expand Job Training: Remodeling and restoration contracts for city properties could require job training for no less than 2 Springfield women or youth.
5. Create Higher Ed Opportunities: The City Council should request that STCC and UMass create a Historic Preservation and Restoration Trades Institute where students earn income and gain skills on-the-job while taking courses that lead to Associates Degrees and higher education.
6. Set The Example: Soon Springfield City Hall will need windows maintained, re-glazed and re-finished. This cost can be incorporated into the city’s monthly building maintenance budget. At-risk youth could be trained and paid in the summer or after-school during the year, on the condition that they complete high school. Women could job-share and stay in school.