Mayor Toni Harp and other state officials announced on Wednesday that the New Haven Parking Authority will continue to operate Union Station for at least the next five years, putting a temporary end to a debate that has gone on for much of the calendar year.
New Haven and the state of Connecticut have spent months arguing over who should control the station. The city’s original 35-year lease to operate the station expires this year, just as the state is planning to construct a second parking garage on the site.
Though the NHPA will continue to operate the station for the next five years, the state is not allowed to solicit new management for at least three years, according to the announcement. If New Haven does not receive another extension at the end of the five years, employees will be given wage and benefit protections should the management change.
In addition, the city will have more design input when it comes to the new garage, which had been a point of contention for the city. The state has promised first-floor retail amenities and additional bicycle parking in the existing garage, as well as improvements for those who walk or bike around Union Station.
“With the framework built into these action steps, and a renewed partnership on other important investments, I’m confident the City and State will continue working together to knit Union Station into an accessible, seamless transportation network for residents and visitors,” Harp said in a statement.
The announcement also included the news that the Office of Personnel Management and Connecticut Department of Transportation will support two projects that will improve pedestrian and biking connections between neighborhoods and the station.
In a separate statement, Harp thanked New Haven’s legislative delegation, community activists and alders for their support throughout the station debate.