For Immediate Release - June 16, 2014

GOVERNOR PATRICK BREAKS GROUND ON NEXT PHASE OF HOLYOKE CANAL WALK PROJECT

Walk to connect historic Holyoke, Innovation District and Heritage State Park

Holyoke Canal Walk Groundbreaking
Governor Patrick breaks ground on the next phase of the Holyoke Canal Walk improvement project. (Photo: Eric Haynes / Governor’s Office)

HOLYOKE – Monday, June 16, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today joined officials from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) along with federal, state and local officials to break ground on improvements to the Holyoke Canal Walk. The $3.5 million investment in the Gateway City of Holyoke will connect pedestrians to historic Holyoke, the Holyoke Innovation District and Heritage State Park.

“Growth requires investment, and these investments in infrastructure will continue to spur economic development in Holyoke and beyond,” said Governor Patrick. “The Canal Walk will improve the lives of the city’s residents now and for generations to come.”

This second phase of the Canal Walk project will create approximately 3,000 feet of additional pedestrian walkways around the Holyoke Canal to connect to Heritage State Park, a Department of Conservation and Recreation facility. The work includes rehabilitation of an previously unused railroad bridge for pedestrian use along with sidewalk improvements, benches, lookouts over the canal and lighting.

The Canal Walk and Heritage State Park are located in the midst of the Transit Oriented Design Project connecting the new Multimodal Transportation Center on Maple Street near Holyoke City Hall. A new train platform to be built on nearby Dwight Street will serve as the stop for Knowledge Corridor passenger rail service coming to the Connecticut River Valley by the end of 2014.

“The Canal Walk is one of many transportation investments in the Holyoke region, including the arrival of passenger rail along the Knowledge Corridor by the end of this year,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “We are working together with our partners in government, business, and the local community to bring new economy opportunity to Holyoke.”

“By connecting the Innovation District and Canal Walk we are continuing to make Holyoke a great place for residents to live, work and play,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “I look forward to our ongoing partnership with communities like Holyoke to promote continued growth in every region of the Commonwealth.”

“The Canal Walk project continues the Patrick Administration’s historic investments in open space,” said EEA Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett. “This project will further revitalize the City of Holyoke and provide a place for families and visitors to relax and explore all that the area has to offer.”

The Patrick Administration has invested more than $300 million in land conservation focused on three goals: investing in urban parks, preserving working farms and forests and protecting large natural landscapes for habitat. This investment has resulted in the protection of more than 110,000 acres of land and the renovation or creation of over 170 parks since 2007, including projects in 310 of 351 communities and 50 of 54 cities. The land conserved and parks created are within a 10 minute walk of 1.5 million residents – about 25 percent of the state’s residents. For the 26 Gateway Cities, the new conservation land and parks are within a 10 minute walk of over 500,000 residents – about 33 percent of all residents.

"I'm appreciative Governor Patrick was able to join us in Holyoke today to celebrate this long anticipated groundbreaking and the beginning of the next phase in Holyoke's redevelopment,” said Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. “As we continue to make infrastructure improvements to our roads and sidewalks and prepare for the construction of passenger rail, the Canal Walk will complement these efforts, playing an integral role in reshaping the way people live and work in downtown Holyoke."

"Heritage Park is a valuable resource for the City of Holyoke and the Canal Walk project will further enhance and revitalize the downtown," said State Senator Donald Humason. “This investment in Holyoke is important for the city's vision for a vibrant district.”

The Canal Walk Project meets the goals of the Patrick Administration’s Gateway Cities Initiatives to make long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure to provide economic growth to cities and towns in all corners of the Commonwealth.

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