Union Station revitalization finally beginning - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Union Station revitalization finally beginning

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A Springfield landmark that has been vacant for nearly four decades is finally getting a facelift.

With the swinging of sledgehammers Mayor Domenic Sarno, Congressman Richard Neal and Gov. Deval Patrick marked the beginning of the transformation of Union Station.

The total project will cost around $78 million, which is being funded by local state and federal resources.

Tuesday Patrick announced the state is coming through with the remaining $4 million needed to fund it.

He says putting money into a project like this will yield job growth now and in the future.

"Investing in infrastructure is not just about investing in the individual projects, although they create jobs right now, but we need 21st century infrastructure as a platform for growth into the future," he said.

CBS 3 took a step into the building with Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority, Chris Moskal.

Walking into the main terminal building is like taking a step back in time; a visit from President Harry S Truman in 1952, the deployment of World War II soldiers from the tracks.

Neal, an advocate for the station's return to the city, says it's that rich history that will make for a vibrant future.

"Union Station is a powerful term I think it connotes not only America's industrial past, but you can see today what it means to our future," Neal said.

Sarno believes establishing rail, PVTA and bus transportation here will transform the city economically and socially pointing at other cities with similar stations as examples.

"Look at D.C., that whole area was a run-down, dangerous, decrepit area. Once Union Station was done, turned it all around, we're looking to do the same thing here for the city of Springfield," Sarno said.

Phase one begins Wednesday with construction on the terminal building and demolition of the baggage building.

The entire station should be complete and running by 2015.

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