Gov. Patrick, Others In Holyoke To Break Ground For Holyoke Canal Walk Extension

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick joined federal, state and local officials in Holyoke Monday to break ground on the second phase of the city’s Canal Walk Project.

This phase goes along Race Street, where some of Holyoke’s historic mills are now home to a growing arts scene. The $3.5 million project will convert a railroad bridge into a pedestrian walkway, and install a new sidewalk, benches, lighting and a lookout over the canal. Katie Stebbins is project manager for the Holyoke Innovation District, which is anchored by the new Green High Performance Computing Center. She says the canal renovation will connect the district to Heritage State Park, making it more attractive for residents and visitors.

“We don’t just want them in the buildings, we want them walking around and biking and roller skating and playing Frisbee. And so the more outdoor amenities we can build in this innovation district, the more vibrancy we can see to the naked eye – not just inside the buildings but outside the buildings – and begin to really build a community here,” says Stebbins.

The project is scheduled to be done in 2016. Meanwhile, ground breaking for a nearby $2.5 million passenger rail platform is slated for next month.