Central Street demolition done, additional parking may soon follow in downtown Westfield

The 2 Central St. location following demolition efforts (The Westfield News)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – City officials report that the demolition of a building on Central Street to improve parking is done, allowing the city to continue to look for ways to improve parking congestion downtown.

The demolition removed a nearly 100-year-old building at 2 Central St., and is being considered for additional parking going forward. According to Peter Miller, community development director for Westfield, the project was done within budget and could open as many as 40 parking spaces that are within walking distance of downtown and Park Square.

“Our goal now is to start looking at how to improve parking,” Miller said.

The lot, if successful, would have a total of 65 parking spaces, with 25 being dedicated to a nearby apartment complex. The funding for the project came from the state’s slum and blight removal program.

The building was constructed in 1920, and has had a lengthy history with the city. It has housed a Gold’s Gym, a taxi company and also as the Power Company Gym, a place where Dean and Dave Liptak—also known as the Power Company from World Championship Wrestling (WCW)—reportedly trained for wrestling, as well as trained aspiring wrestlers.

The project is part of a greater effort from the city to ease parking issues, with a demolition project also going on nearby at Romani’s Bowling Alley at 11 and 13 Church St. Currently, the latter project is awaiting a finalized bid, which should be revealed this week.

The project has also received an assist from Westfield State University students, who performed a parking utilization study that was previously budgeted $10,000 but was later cut. The project was done by the students without a cost.

In the interim, Miller said that the city will continue to try and improve parking.

“We recognize parking is problematic, especially on that side of Elm Street,” he said. “We hope to have some temporary solutions this fall.”