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Multimodal Center to open next week

Date: 9/22/2010

Sept. 22, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

HOLYOKE -- A week before its opening ceremony on Sept. 27, construction workers were busy with the final stages of what is being described as a one-of-a-kind center in the country, the Holyoke Multimodal Transportation Facility.

The facility is scheduled to open Sept, 27 at a 10 a.m. event featuring Congressman John Olver. Mayor Elaine Pluta said Gov. Deval Patrick might also be attending.

Pluta said to Reminder Publications the center would be a model for other cities.

"It's a great addition to downtown," she said.

The facility is in the former fire headquarters on Maple Street and will be a hub for the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA), as well as serving as the Holyoke bus station for Peter Pan Bus Lines. What makes it unique is the addition of a daycare facility operated by Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Headstart and an adult education campus of Holyoke Community College.

The first floor will house a PVTA bus ticketing counter and information booth, a customer waiting area, driver rest area and public restrooms. The daycare will be on the second floor and the HCC classrooms will be on the third and fourth floor.

According to information released by the PVTA, the transit authority operates seven routes in Holyoke and carries more than 7,000 passengers a week. The project is budgeted $8.4 million with $4.5 million in federal funds, $2.9 million provided by the state and $1.5 million in local and private funding.

Pluta explained the center is one of three projects that will make a positive impact on downtown. She explained there will be cleaning and planting upgrades to Veteran's Park paid by a grant and there will be a market rate and affordable housing project at the former site of Holyoke Catholic High School.

The center has been in the planning stages for years. At the groundbreaking ceremonies in 2009, Olver said, "This started in the '02 fiscal year. In these times, it's hard to put together private, state and federal money ... [but] this is the kind of project that should be part of the economic recovery package."

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