The redevelopment of Springfield’s historic Union Station is getting another shot of state money to move the project forward. Officials announced today [Wednesday] that $650,000 from the state’s Brownfields Redevelopment Fund will go toward what they call environmental investigation and remediation. The money will assist in the continued clean up and removal of dangerous toxins like asbestos and PCB’s, as well as petroleum and underground tanks at the site. Marty Jones, President of MassDevelopment, which administers the Brownfields Fund, says more than $1 million has already been provided to clean up the site to prepare it for development.
“It’s an unfortunate fact that a lot of old buildings have asbestos and other things in them that need to be completely cleaned out. And unfortunately until you get into the buildings and starts tearing them apart, you don’t really know everything that’s there.”
First opened in the mid-1920s, Union Station served as the city’s train station until it closed in the early 1970s, and has been idle since. The $78 million multi-phase project will integrate inter-city and commuter rail and bus service in one location. Springfield Congressman Richard Neal says revitalizing the iconic structure will help transform the city’s downtown, much like what Boston’s South Station and similar projects across the country have done for their communities.
“When you can see what’s happening in Worcester, in Albany, in New Haven, and Baltimore and Washington and even in Hartford, this has enormous potential.”
The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in early 2015. A second phase will develop more retail and office space.