SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Monday marked an official celebration of the decommissioning of the Civic Center Parking Garage in Springfield as they get ready to build a new one across from the MassMutual Center.

Governor Charlie Baker was in Springfield Monday knocking down the parking sign himself with an excavator as demolition for a new parking garage hits a new stage. The new five-story garage will feature 800 to 900 parking spots, EV chargers and an entrance area on State and Main Streets offering easier access to downtown local businesses.

Delayed by the pandemic and the Calder Cup playoff season, Governor Baker said that led them to take this project and make it something more, “The way they changed, particularly this way of place-making and making a plaza, and a different entrance, and all the rest, were enormously positive developments in taking this project and making it much more than it would have been otherwise.”

The $80 million project also included buying the parking lot next door. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said this will elevate what the city has to offer, “The activation of Bruce Landing Way, much like Fenway. When you go to Fenway, when you go to the MassMutual Center, whether to see the T-Birds or the other shows MGM are putting on, it’s going to be activation down here.”

Mayor Sarno said they plan to make some announcements about how they’ll repurpose that space.

The old garage had limited parking because both the second floor as well as the roof were closed after a point. The process to take down the old building has really ramped up this summer, with barricades blocking off the construction area. Ribbon cutting on the new garage is expected to be in late 2023.