SPRINGFIELD MA May 11 2017 -- When visiting Union Station after its grand opening next month, look up and smile: you're on security camera.
The Springfield Redevelopment Authority, which owns the station, has installed more than 200 security cameras covering nearly every part of the transportation hub inside and out, said SRA Executive Director Christopher J. Moskal. For example, cameras are mounted underneath the big video board over the main waiting room in the center of the station.
The video surveillance system can store data for at least 30 days and for as long as 45 days, Moskal said.
The team who is behind the new Union Station understand how important safety, cleanliness and friendly customer service will be to the station's success in drawing passengers, customers and visitors, Moskal said.
Springfield Union Station opened 91 years ago.
"This station belongs to everybody," he said. "Everybody should want to be a part of it. Everybody should feel comfortable visiting it."
The Redevelopment Authority will have private security staff on hand who will monitor the cameras and make footage available to police.
Built in 1926, Union Station was a hub of commercial and social life in Springfield for decades until it fell out of use. The station closed in 1973 except for a small area still used by Amtrak.
The $94 million renovation is nearly complete and grand reopening festivities are scheduled for next month.
Peter Pan and the city plan to announce Tuesday the bus lines' deal to use Springfield Union Station as its Springfield hub
Planners expect that soon 5 million to 8 million passengers a year will pass through Union Station, its grounds and its 377-space parking deck.
Springfield Police plan to have a steady and consistent patrol presence at Union Station, said Deputy Chief William Cochrane. Details of how big that presence will be and how it will be arranged have yet to be worked out.
Cochrane said police do plan to place one of their new kiosks nearby, probably at Main and Taylor streets.
Amtrak Police plan to maintain their presence in Union Station, said railroad spokesman Mike Tolbert. Amtrak officers patrol in stations, on trains, in and around Amtrak facilities and on the railroad right-of-way.
Peter Pan Chairman Peter Picknelly has said he has plans to redevelop the existing Springfield Bus Terminal building on Main Street.
Cochrane said Springfield police work often with Amtrak officers.
He said most calls at the current Amtrak station or at the Peter Pan bus station -- the bus line will soon use Union Station as its Springfield depot -- are for quality-of-life issues such as panhandlers, public drunkenness and loitering.