Demolition nears, plans coming together for Civic Center parking garge

Now that the Thunderbirds’ historic season has come to an end, the Civic Center parking garage project is getting closer to demolition.
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 4:42 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Now that the Thunderbirds’ historic season has come to an end, the Civic Center parking garage project is getting closer to demolition.

Since the 1970s, the Civic Center garage has been a downtown Springfield staple and has provided locals and visitors with convenient parking, but now, a renovation is in the works.

“I liked it, but you have to find your spot. Otherwise, the rust will fall down on your car…Let’s hope that this is the start of a good project and let’s hope it gets completed on time,” said Jon Fein, who works in downtown Springfield.

Work is now moving forward on the Civic Center parking garage’s demolition and reconstruction. Western Mass News spoke with Tara Coughlin of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which owns the garage for an update.

“So far, we’re still on schedule even though we had a couple weeks delay,” Coughlin said.

Preparation work started this week with barricades and traffic pattern changes coming soon. Moving forward, the right lane of Harrison Avenue eastbound will be closed, but the left lane will remain open. The parking lane and right lane of Dwight Street from Harrison Avenue to Bruce Landon Way will be closed, but the other two lanes will stay open

The westbound lane of Bruce Landon Way will be closed and there will be no access from Dwight Street, but there will be access from Main Street.

Last time we visited the garage, we saw rust and low ceilings. Now, the garage is completely closed off.

“We really enjoyed working with the city on ways to make this project a little more than a garage and hope to have more than that to share later,” Coughlin noted.

Coughlin told us they hope barriers will start going up next week and demolition can begin within the next few weeks. She also shared with Western Mass News what drivers can expect from the new garage

“We definitely will have some type of EV charging available, looking at the façade of the garage right now, and trying to find ways to beautify the space, so it’s not the typical concrete garage,” Coughlin explained.

There has been a change in plans too.

“We actually decided to move away from a sky bridge from the garage to the MassMutual Center and that is because we decided to have the primary entrance of the garage off of Harrison and then a secondary entrance off of Dwight Street. That allows us to make Bruce Landon Way a lot more pedestrian friendly,” Coughlin said.

Residents we spoke with are looking forward to the updates.

“It’ll give us a lot more parking, which might attract more people down here if we can come up with a way of making in expensive a lot more people will come here,” Fein said.

The plan is for the project to be completed in time for the 2023 hockey season.