A development-friendly zoning overlay and tax increment financing district is benefiting commercial real estate in Windsor Locks, including Beacon Communities' recently completed Montgomery Mill redevelopment. Photo courtesy of Beacon Communities

Gov. Ned Lamont was on hand Wednesday to kick off construction on a project Windsor Locks officials hope will spur more development in their town: a new train station.

The town already has a stop on the state’s Hartford Line commuter rail train that connects New Haven, Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts. However, the town’s existing station was located next to its sewage treatment plant, far from its downtown, and needed upgrades.

Local officials successfully lobbied to have the station moved over a mile north to the town’s retail district, and paired the project with zoning updates that have already helped spur a $62 million redevelopment of a large ex-mill next to the future station location. In addition, a tax increment financing district has been created covering the downtown Windsor Locks neighborhood that, it’s hoped, will draw more multifamily and mixed-use development.

“We continuously hear from businesses, both large and small, and residents that they want to be near public transportation that provide convenient options for travel,” Lamont said in a statement provided by his office. “This new station is going to be a real driver of economic activity in Windsor Locks. In fact, when developers were looking to renovate the old Montgomery Mill down the road, they knew their investment was going to be worthwhile because of our plans to create this new train station just a short distance away. The Hartford Line has been a success story for Connecticut since it launched four years ago, and I remain committed to making further improvements to our state’s rail services. The groundbreaking on this new train station in Windsor Locks is just another step in addressing our infrastructure needs and expanding amenities on our well-used rail lines.”

The new station will include a high-level platform to allow for level boarding from every train car, speeding up trips on the Hartford Line. Connections to the Canal Trail via Bridge Street will be established as part of the project. Bus connections to Bradley International Airport will continue. Additionally, outside of the station construction, roadway safety and track expansion and improvement projects will be underway.

Addressing track issues allows for future track expansion on the Hartford Line north of Hartford, Lamont’s office said. The total project is estimated to cost $87.14 million, with $59.11 million approved by the State Bond Commission in 2020. Additional funds include a $17.49 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration and an estimated $10.54 million contribution from Amtrak, which owns the track and rail line. The project is expected to be completed in Summer 2025.