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Mayor Sarno and Congressman Neal Reach Deal with Amtrak to allow Pedestrian Access to Riverfront Park for Iconic Spirit of Springfield Star Spangled 4th of July Event

|   City News

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Congressman Richard E. Neal announced today that after a flurry of activity and phone calls made over the weekend and into Monday morning, a deal has been reached with Amtrak to allow pedestrian access to the City of Springfield’s Riverfront Park for the iconic Spirit of Springfield Star Spangled 4th of July event.

Mayor Sarno and Congressman Neal joined with Spirit of Springfield President Judy Matt, Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood, Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi, Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Chris Cignoli, Parks, Building and Recreational Management (PBRM) Director Patrick Sullivan, Deputy Police Chief Lawrence Akers, and Frank Ott, Chief of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Nick Cocchi’s Public Safety Operations, to provide an update on Amtrak providing access to Riverfront Park at the State Street crossing.  Amtrak will honor their contractual agreement with the city and the Spirit of Springfield, and the public will be able to access the pedestrian access point into Riverfront Park at the State Street crossing beginning at 5:00 pm.  The State Street crossing point will remain open until around 11:00pm or when everyone has safely exited the park. 

Of note, the State Street crossing gate will be temporarily closed from time-to-time, to allow train traffic to pass.  Once the train has cleared, the State Street crossing gate will again be opened for pedestrian traffic.

In addition, Amtrak security, along with members of the Springfield Police and Fire Departments, the State Police, and the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department will be on site to provide hospitality and public safety aspects. 

Mayor Sarno states, “The show will go on.  I want to thank Congressman Richard Neal, who once a mayor always the heart of a mayor, he came through and delivered once again for our city and our residents.  My dedicated city team and I were working the phones all weekend long and into Monday morning with Congressman Neal and his office, and other officials, including representatives from Amtrak, to finalize the details and the time the gates would be open at the State Street crossing for the public to use to enter and exit the Riverfront Park.  I want to also thank Amtrak for honoring their agreement and opening the State Street crossing gate so that we do not have a bottleneck at the pedestrian underpass just north of that location.  We want everyone to have a good time and be safe at our beloved Riverfront Park for the Spirit of Springfield’s Star Spangled 4th of July festivities and this is the best possible outcome to achieve that end.”  

“I also would like to thank United States Senator Edward Markey’s Office, former state Representative Eric Lesser and the state Department of Public Utilities (DPU) for their efforts and outreach to help resolve this matter,” said Mayor Sarno.  

“Star Spangled Springfield is a time-honored tradition that has captivated the Springfield community for decades. I am proud to have worked with Mayor Sarno, Spirit of Springfield President Judy Matt, and city officials to ensure everyone can enjoy this spectacular celebration of our nation’s founding,” said Congressman Neal. “I would like to thank Amtrak officials, including Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner, who I spoke with regarding their concerns surrounding this event. Through our continued communication, and with the help of Springfield and State Police who have once again stepped up to the plate, we were able to come to an agreement that will ensure safe pedestrian access for all those attending tomorrow evening’s festivities.”

There will now, as there has always been, two main access points to enter and exit Riverfront Park for this special event.  The State Street crossing and the pedestrian underpass ramp just north, both on West Columbus Ave. 

Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood, Deputy Chief Lawrence Akers and Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi again confirmed that Police Officers and Fire personnel, along with members from the State Police and Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi’s Department, will be on site to provide hospitality for guest, help guide pedestrian traffic and will allow vehicle traffic only when pedestrians have cleared the area. 


Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm