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Saturday
Dec152012

Location of Transit Hub on Q-Block Fits with Depot Plan

At their December 4 meeting, the City Council approved a resolution recommending to the Federal Transit Administration  (FTA) that the transit hub be located on the city-owned land on the Q-block. Save the Northfield Depot views the co-location of the transit hub facility with the 1888 depot as a step forward in our vision to accomplish much more than preserving a historic building.

As noted by Rob Martin at the meeting, "We look forward to collaborating with the City—as noted in our agreement with the City—to provide the community with a unique, valuable resource, one that can provide numerous amenities and serve many segments of the community in ways that one entity (the City, FTA, and Save the Northfield Depot) alone could not achieve."

When Save the Northfield Depot was formed four years ago, the input at the public meetings we held was that the depot complex should be multi-use. The consistent components in the public’s vision included a transit facility and a visitor's center, resulting in preliminary site plans that could accommodate those possible two functions and others.

As noted by Martin, "Our project to save a historic building has become much more – to create an attractive gateway, spur economic development, connect the east and west sides, and, of course, serve as a transportation hub."

Because the Q-block will accommodate both the 1888 depot and the transit hub, Save the Northfield Depot will work with the City to revise our agreement about the portion of the Q-block that will now be set aside for the transit hub. After the current FTA clean-up funds are approved for the site, clean-up will occur on the transit portion of the site; Save the Northfield Depot remains responsible for land clean-up on the our portion. The signs are good that the new transit hub could be built as an addition to the depot similar to our long-term plans to add a pavilion and baggage room as originally envisioned in 1917. Once the land is cleaned up, the City can apply for additional funds to build that structure.

In the meantime, Save the Northfield Depot continues to raise the funds necessary to move the depot to the Q-block and restore it – knowing that the complex planned to follow the depot by several years may, in fact, arrive on site before or at the same time as the 1888 depot! The fundraising efforts are going well; over $70,000 has been raised towards those expenses.

Save the Northfield Depot is grateful to the community and the foundations that have recognized the importance of the project as well as the tight time frame we have in which to raise the funds. The project is like an engine pulling out of the tracks – pulling hard, going slowly but surely, but moving in the right direction to get where we need to be.