Jail demolition to begin soon
Thursday, October 18th 2007
SPRINGFIELD - Call it the long good-bye.
An array of city officials, business representatives and residents gathered at the former York Street jail along West Columbus Avenue yesterday to announce the start of demolition of the jail complex, seen as a vital step in the ongoing development of the Connecticut riverfront.
"This is a long-awaited day in the redevelopment and recovery of our city," Mayor Charles V. Ryan said. "It's time for us to say good-bye to the jail."
During the next several weeks, workers will remove asbestos from the buildings, marking the first phase of the $1.24 million demolition project. The demolition is scheduled to begin by late November and should be completed and the site cleared by late February, said David B. Panagore, the Springfield Finance Control Board's chief development officer.
North American Site Developers Inc., of Waltham, was the low bidder for demolition. AQE Inc., of Atkinson, N.H., is conducting the asbestos removal as a sub-contractor.
The demolition and cleanup will be paid for with borrowing the control board approved in December.
The city had tried for years to find a developer for the jail complex and placed a large sign on the main building, stating: "Jail for Sale," visible to passing motorists on Interstate 91. The jail was constructed in the mid-1880s and comprises 16 structures on a 3.5-acre parcel, last used as a jail in 1992.
Ryan said there has already is "keen interest" in the site, now that the jail is slated for demolition.
Ryan said the demolition "sets the table" for private investors to bring a development to the site that complements other development on the riverfront, including the new Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the $14 million River's Landing-LA Fitness construction project at the old Hall of Fame building.
City Councilor Timothy J. Rooke praised the demolition saying it is "proof positive that we are on the right track."
Peter J. Pappas, a partner in the River's Landing project, said he and partner Michael A. Spagnoli would not have invested in the project if they did not have confidence in the city's leadership and revitalization efforts.
"This city is moving forward, and we are proud to be part of it," he said.
Robert L. Culver, president and chief executive officer of the state Development Finance Agnency hired as project manager, said Springfield "represents a city on the move in the 21st century."
City Council President Kateri B. Walsh was among officials saying that redevelopment of the jail buildings was cost prohibitive. She said she hopes that demolition will lead to a "great economic development opportunity."
This article was written by Peter Goonan and published by The Republican on Thursday, October 18th 2007 and NOT owned by nor affiliated with opacity.us, but are recorded here solely for educational use. The photographs featured in the article are randomly selected from the York Street Jail galleries on opacity.us unless noted otherwise; they may not directly relate to the article subject matter except for the site location - any other relation is purely coincidental.