SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Significant new developments were announced on Thursday on the future of historic Union Station in Springfield. The station is a part of Springfield’s past, and now it will be a part of it’s future.
Built in 1896, the beautiful building was a hub of transportation in the Northeast, but it fell into disrepair and was closed for 43 years. $97-million is bringing it back to life.
On Thursday, Veterans from the Soldiers Home in Holyoke who took the train to war returned to gaze on the terminal’s restored original clock and floors.
“It was a bee hive of activity when I went in. There was barber shops and you name it. Little coffee places and paper places and shoe shine places,” said Navy Veteran David Sullivan.
And it’s not just the lobby. Union Station boasts a 377 space parking garage, a bus terminal, 60,000 square feet of office space and room for retail.
“That is why you have to have not only buses and trains, but taxis, car rentals, bike shares. We are looking at all of those components,” said Chief Development Officer for the city of Springfield, Kevin Kennedy.
The city said they are still having “substantive negotiations” with Amtrak, Peter Pan, and the PVTA, among others, with announcements expected soon.
“Thousands of people are going to be going in and out of here. You look at MGM. So now we have to make sure we harness not just the vehicle traffic but also the pedestrian traffic and make connections with our public safety plan and esthetic quality improvements,” said Mayor Domenic Sarno.
The North to South rail lines are ready to go. They’ll be working on East to West. Union Station will open in the spring to an estimated commuter load of 4-million people a year.
Mayor Sarno told 22News they have signed vendor contracts with Dunkin Donuts, Subway and a locally owned Commuter’s Variety store.