The long-awaited transformation of Springfield’s historic Union Station into the region’s main transportation hub officially got underway today at a ceremonial demolition held at the Frank B. Murray Street site.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, along with Congressman Richard E. Neal, Governor Deval L. Patrick and other officials wielding sledgehammers, participated in the event. It signaled the start of demolition of the former baggage-handling building and will pave the way for construction of a 24-bay bus terminal with structured parking above it – the first steps toward reactivating the long-vacant downtown station.
“Today represents the start of an important project that will benefit virtually everyone in western Massachusetts. It's an exciting day for the Pioneer Valley," said Mayor Sarno.
"The successful renovation of Union Station has been a priority of mine for more than 30 years,” Neal said. “I have always believed the restoration of this iconic Springfield landmark had the ability to transform the north blocks of downtown. And it will bring a world-class transportation center to the region in the process.”
Other specific work to be completed as part of a $48.7 million Phase 1 project, designed by HDR Architecture, Inc., includes the restoration of the main terminal building as a passenger center. The first floor will include operations, ticketing and waiting space for the transit-service providers, as well as transit-related retail. Also, the passenger tunnel will be reopened and restored, linking the terminal building to rail boarding platforms and pedestrian access to the downtown.
When completed, this initial phase will provide connections for the continuation and expansion of services, including local, regional and intercity buses; Amtrak, commuter and high-speed passenger rail, and other ground transportation services.
The scond phase of the project will emphasize the remaining development of additional transit-related restaurant and retail uses on the first floor and transit-related commercial space primarily on the Terminal Building’s upper floors, and will expand the new transit center’s parking capabilities.
Sarno thanked Neal for his steadfast support of this regionally significant transportation project and for helping the City bring it to this point. "Recognizing that the station’s redevelopment is crucial to the continued revitalization of the City of Springfield, our goal is to transform this property into a sustainable transportation facility – positioning us to better meet the travel needs of the Pioneer Valley in the short and long term," added Mayor Sarno.
Sarno also thanked Governor Patrick “for making Union Station a top priority of his administration,” and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for working in partnership with the City. “Through this cooperation and with funding support from the state, we have achieved tremendous progress as we’ve worked with the Federal Transit Administration to advance this vital project,” he said.
Funding for the Union Station project has been assembled from a number of federal, state and local sources. In July, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Springfield to announce the award of a $17.6 million federal Bus Livability grant for the project.
The project is scheduled to be completed and operational by 2015.