I just read through a few of the posts on the Springfield forum, and in my opinion, a lot of people are giving bad advice about visiting the city.
For example, there was a thread where people advised visitors to "not walk around Springfield at night." People: this isn't 2003; it's 2011. Springfield's crime has fallen by over 50%.
Currently, Springfield is safer than its peer cities (Hartford and New Haven, CT,) and it has been for five years now. As of April 30, 2011, New Haven has experienced 13 murders; Hartford has experienced 12; Springfield has experienced 6.
Also, the latest "City Crime Rankings" show Springfield significantly safer than Hartford and New Haven, both of which were said here to be safer than Springfield. New Haven currently ranks as the 18th most dangerous city in the U.S. with a crime rating near 200.00. Hartford ranks as the 19th most dangerous city with a crime rating near 200.00. Springfield's crime rating is 140.00. That's a huge difference.
Old reputations die hard, I guess, but in my opinion, the misinformation being spread about Springfield here does a disservice to the city and to the good people who live there. It's a great city with a bunch of interesting ethnic neighborhoods, GREAT food, a bustling and SAFE entertainment district, and some of the most ornate and beautiful architecture in the Northeast.
No one seems to mention that Springfield has the most Victorian "Painted Lady" mansions in New England. Or that Forest Park is New England's largest garden district, or that Forest Park itself was designed by F.L. Olmstead who designed New York City's Central Park, and is considered by art historians to be very significant.
By the way, Six Flags New England is a mile from Springfield's "little Italy" (the South End,) and The Big E, New England's State Fair is one mile from Springfield across one of the most beautiful bridges in the country, the Memorial across the Connecticut.
How about Springfield's Symphony Hall, with its perfect acoustics? Or the MassMutual Center, with its rock concerts and conventions? And its two professional sports teams--the AHL ice hockey Falcons, and the NBA basketball D-League Armor?
How about the only National Park in Western Massachusetts -- the Springfield Armory National Park and National Historic Site, founded by George Washington during the Revolutionary War. It features the largest collection of guns in America.
How about The Quadrangle? The best collection of New England museums outside of Boston? The Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden.
Springfield gave America the gasoline powered car, the motorcycle, the motorized fire engine, the American-English dictionary, the sport of basketball, the first dog show, the first horse show, the first commercial radio station and the first television station
(I got all of this from Wikipedia by the way.)
People, give this city it's due. It is revitalizing. Please stop spreading misconceptions and outdated warnings about it.