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New Haven, State Strike Deal Over Control of Union Station

by | Jun 7, 2017 1:35pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Transportation, Rail, New Haven

Jack Kramer / ctnewsjunkie NEW HAVEN, CT - A fight for control of Union Station has ended in an agreement between the New Haven Parking Authority and the state.

Under the new five-year agreement, the New Haven Parking Authority will continue to manage the station while the state and city work together to redevelop the area around it.

The plan seeks to add retail development to the train station, increase bike parking spaces, and improve bike and walking trails to and around the station.

The Office of Policy Management and Department of Transportation have agreed to withdraw a May 2nd request for the New Haven Parking Authority to pay the 50 percent share of excess net revenues for fiscal year 2013, 2014 and 2015, that the state had previously stated were required for it to transfer the property.

In exchange the city of New Haven has agreed to withdraw its support for the conveyance of the train station from the state to the city.

The city’s 35-year lease to operate the train station comes to an end at the end of this month.

The DOT previously stated it wanted to extend the lease three more years while it builds a second garage and then put the management contract for the station out to bid, stating it thought it could do a better job of developing the train station site than the city could.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp had objected to the state’s attempts to control the property.

Harp has said New Haven rescued the station from demolition and turned it into an economic engine for the city.

The train station flap even became part of the General Assembly’s annual bill to give away, sell, or swap state-owned land. The Government Administration and Elections Committee voted to include language in the bill that would have conveyed New Haven Union Station to the city for $1 million.]

Language in the original bill would have conveyed the property to the city for $1.

But now there is no need for any legislative action - since the state and city have worked out their differences.

In a letter to Harp, OPM Secretary Ben Barnes said the discussions between the state and the city “revealed common ground on many matters and identified an approach which will address our respective concerns.”

Barnes continued: “The City of New Haven and Governor Malloy’s administration have a strong record of working together to advance significant projects that benefit the city and the state. From incentivizing major corporations to relocate to the city, to investing in major housing and community development projects, to funding recreational facilities and bicycle infrastructure improvements, we have jointly recognized the importance of investing our urban centers, including and especially New Haven.”

Harp said she’s confident the city and state will continue to work together to “knit Union Station into an accessible, seamless transportation network for residents and visitors, with improved amenities to complement the broader goals of transit-oriented development and economic growth in the Hill to the downtown corridor.”

As part of the agreement the state and city agreed that over the next three months the DOT and city will “collaborate to prepare conceptual plans illustrating opportunities for retail space in the existing garage.”

The letter goes on to state that the goal would be for the plans to be under final review by September.

Barnes went on to state that while the second garage at Union Station is being built, the DOT and city will at the same will pursue request for proposals for potential retail development at the station.
He said that construction of actual retail space would not take place until the second garage is complete.

Under the agreement the city and the state will work together to develop the pedestrian/bike trail on the east and west sides of the train station; improve walkability between Union Station and State Street Station; relocate the Vision Trail “from the unsafe path through the rail yard”; increase bike parking to 240 spaces at the train station; and pursue design alternatives the overall Union Station campus, among other items.

The agreement also states that OPM will recommend more urban projects and bridge improvements around the train station that will be put on the state credit card.

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