NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Usually, when you go to Union Station in New Haven, you’re in a hurry and probably don’t get to appreciate how beautiful the building is, and a lot of it is unused.
The city wants to use more of it and get people to stick around, maybe even when they’re not catching a train.
“Behind us is usually four million people a year walking through Union Station,” said Doug Hausladen, Park New Haven Executive Director.
That’s all they do is just walk through, other than a few fast-food counters, there’s nothing to keep travelers there. At least not yet.
“Just imagine what Union Station is going to look like as we get going on this 35-year lease. It’s going to be vibrant, alive, retail, restaurants. This is going to be yet another community hub,” said Governor Ned Lamont.
That lease can be extended to 55 years. The city leased the space from the state with planned improvements to parking, adding hundreds of spaces and a new garage. A new international hub to connect trains to buses and taxis. Then, there are the restaurants and more bathrooms. It is all happening as money is pouring in to improve mass transit infrastructure.
“This is a game-changer for New Haven because this agreement comes at the perfect time, right when the federal government is making massive, historic investments,” said Senator Chris Murphy.
City officials think improvements to the train station will bring more people to the immediate area.
“That’s both the innovation district from the Hill to downtown all the way down here. There’s the potential for an additional 6,000 jobs in this district and 6,500 more housing units,” said Mike Piscatelli, New Haven Economic Development Director.
The public will get to weigh in on all of the changes, so if you want any say in the future of Union Station, you’ll get the chance to starting next month.