Springfield parking garage being knocked down

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As work continues on Springfield’s Union Station project, a nearby parking garage is coming down.

Demolition crews have been knocking down the brick parking garage between Liberty and Frank B. Murray Streets. Heavy equipment has been taking the structure down, while hoses are being sprayed on the rubble as a safety measure.

After years of delays, demolition work has been going on around Springfield’s long-closed train station, which officials hope to turn into a hub for rail and bus travel.

The $81 million project includes the restoration of the train station, the demolition of the adjacent baggage building, and the construction of a 146-space parking garage, among other improvements.

Tim Brennan of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission told 22News that the early stages of the renovation work from inside the Union Station building has been going on and off for the past year or so. He added that there is an effort to pick up the pace so the project can be done by 2015.

City resident WIll told 22News that he’s just relieved to the project is making some progress.

“It’s been going on for a long time.  I was a member of the labor union back in the 90′s and they kept saying every year ‘we’re going to get that Union Station project’ and it just never came to fruition.  I’m just glad to see it’s finally getting started,” Jackson said.

One current obstacle is some unanticipated structural issues that have come up during the early stages of the project. The issues were not anticipated but must now be addressed.  Some of those unanticipated problems include retaining wall issues and structural wall flaws.

In order to fix those problems and move forward with the project, a $12.5 million funding gap needs to be closed.

A portion of the gap in funding may be filled by $1.7 million from regional funds for transportation projects, which would be paid out over the next three years. The state has committed to fill the rest of the gap if regional funding comes through.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is currently reviewing this option and will hold a meeting on February 27 at 10 A.M. in the PVTA conference room to vote on the funding.

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