MGM Springfield, city announce $6.9 million investment to 'refresh Main Street' ahead of casino's grand opening
City officials and representatives of MGM Springfield on Wednesday announced a $6.9 million streetscape improvement project in the downtown area and South End.
MGM Springfield is contributing $5.5 million to the project, with the city contributing the remainder of $1.4 million, with the work including street paving, sidewalk repairs, intersection improvements, landscaping, and an installation of a pedestrian wayfinding system, officials said.
The work ties in with the opening of newly refurbished Union Station this month, and the scheduled completion of the $950 million casino project in the fall of the 2018, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said.
"As we get ready for the grand opening of these two transformative developments, it is important for the city to ensure that we provide the best pedestrian experience for those living, working and visiting Springfield," Sarno said.
The target area stretches along Main Street from Union Station to Central Street.
The city's Main Street 'Refresh' Project will target Main Street from Union Station to Central Street in the South End, south of the MGM project. In addition, work will take place throughout the downtown area.
There will also be enhancements to the rail road underpasses along Main Street, Dwight Street and Chestnut Street in the downtown area, officials said.
The pedestrian wayfinding system is in the final phases of design, officials said.
The "Refresh" project compliments MGM's investment in downtown infrastructure, officials said. Work getting under way includes traffic signal improvements at key intersections, major utility upgrades, new paving, and curb and sidewalk work, according to the city.
Sarno was joined in the announcement by several officials including: Kevin Kennedy, the city's chief development officer; Christopher Cignoli, director of the Department of Public Works, and MGM Springfield's new general manager Alex Dixon.
The announcement of the streetscape improvements follows the announcement last month of public safety initiatives planned by the city in partnership with MGM Springfield. The initiatives include a new police substation at Pynchon Plaza in the downtown and police kiosks.
Kennedy said that with Union Station and the casino project coming, the city will be "welcoming thousands and thousands of people on a regular basis."
"Not only do we have to have it look safe and clean and bright and polished, we also have to have a very hospitable and welcoming type of the downtown," Kennedy said. "It's critical that we do this, and for the simple way to put it, it makes common sense."
Some improvements will expand beyond Main Street such as Taylor, Lyman and Kaynor streets, officials said.
Cignoli praised the coordination of improvements with MGM Springfield including advance utility work.
"It makes a lot of sense for us to upgrade our roadways that have taken a beating from a utility standpoint," Cignoli said.
Most of the work will likely occur next spring, Cignoli said. In addition to road and sidewalk improvements, he cited other upgrades such as new trees and tree wells where needed, other landscaping, new crosswalks, and new modern trash receptacles.
Dixon, who was just announced as the new general manager of MGM Springfield this week, said the company is working hard with the city "to make sure that every aspect of the community's and our guests' experiences will be top-notch."
"You will see refreshed signage, signal upgrades, curb enhancements, improved handicap access along the many routes to MGM Springfield," Dixon said. "I promise you that MGM Springfield will be vigilant about informing the Springfield DPW and the community at large about when and where the work will occur.