SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Following a large amount of traffic on the opening night of the Springfield Falcons hockey season last weekend, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has announced a new initiative to have officers in downtown to help flow traffic.

City officials and key stakeholders of Springfield met with Mayor Sarno to discuss the heavy traffic after large downtown events since the demolition of the Civic Center garage. A decision was made to enhance the Springfield Police Metro Unit traffic details during major events, such as the Springfield Thunderbirds games.

More information on the traffic details will be released Tuesday.

Mayor Sarno states, “With the demolition of the old Civic Center garage underway, the loss of parking by our MassMutual Center is being felt, especially during sold-out games of our beloved Springfield Thunderbirds.  Until the new state-of-the-art parking garage is built, I have coordinated with the Springfield Parking Authority, the Springfield Police Department, and DPW to enhance our SPD Metro Unit traffic details at key traffic intersections downtown to help alleviate the traffic congestion for when games start and end.”

Paul Picknelly stated, “T-Birds President Nate Costa and I, after meeting with Mayor Sarno and city officials, are confident that these new enhanced traffic details will help ease traffic congestion at peak hours during sold-out games at the MassMutual Center and other busy events in our downtown Springfield.”

“We are thrilled to see the continued renaissance of the City of Springfield with so many people coming to enjoy all of the events and amenities our downtown has to offer,” said MGM Springfield President Chris Kelley. “MGM Springfield fully supports the City’s efforts and creative initiatives to ensure guests have the best experience possible.”

Sean Dolan, General Manager for MassMutual Center said, “There has been a great collaboration between the City of Springfield, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, Springfield Thunderbirds, and MGM Springfield as we all continue working together to deliver a great guest experience to our customers and clients.”

The $40 million parking garage currently being built in downtown Springfield is scheduled to open in late 2023 or 2024. The garage will have up to 1,000 parking spots and 10,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space.