Opinions wanted about new phase of Canalwalk
Date: 7/3/2012July 4, 2012
By G. Michael Dobbsnews@thereminder.com
HOLYOKE Holyoke officials hope that residents turn out for a presentation of the current plans for the second phase of the Canalwalk at 7 p.m. on July 11 at the City Council Chambers in City Hall.
Marcos Marrero, director of Planning and Economic Development, told Reminder Publications
that Massachusetts Department of Transportation representatives will be listening to what people have to say and how they react to the initial design.
He explained the project is at the "25 percent design phase" and while the residents will see a "mature design," it will not be the final design.
Phase II runs about 2,246 linear feet along the Second Level Canal from Appleton Street north to Dwight Street, and includes the entire length of the block along Race Street The renovation of the former railroad bridge and south along the west side of the canal to Appleton Street and the connections to Phase I along Dwight and Appleton Streets completes the second phase.
The project is currently slated for construction in the Pioneer Valley Regional Transportation Improvement Program and scheduled for bid in 2013. Marrero said the budget for the project is about $4.7 million.
The Canalwalk is designed to ultimately link City Hall with Holyoke Heritage State Park, the Holyoke Children's Museum and Volleyball Hall of Fame with businesses, art studios and galleries.***
Marrero also spoke on the search for the newly approved Creative Economy Director. He believes the hiring process will take about 45 days and so far the city has received "a lot of responses." He added the interview process would probably start on July 20.
The hired candidate will meet with stakeholders around the city and identify priorities that fall within the creative economy. Marrero added the new director will work as well with the Innovation District Task Force in attracting new businesses to the city and improving the quality of life.
One goal is to "have a cool area in downtown," Marrero said. He noted the number of artist studios and galleries already established and added, "There's a lot to work with."
He said the director would not be "someone who simply unite as all of the fine arts around here ... but someone who can bring something different to the table."