Thursday, November 15, 2012

Historic Freight Depot Rehab Moves Forward with Funding

At yesterday's meeting of the Oregon Transportation Commission, Commissioners approved ODOT's request for a little over half a million dollars for the 1889 baggage depot at the train station.

Old Freight Depot: University of Oregon
From ODOT's release:
SALEM – The Oregon Transportation Commission today approved a request to award $575,200 from the Transportation Enhancement discretionary account to preserve and restore the historic baggage depot at the Salem Amtrak Station for use as an inter-city bus depot, as part of a larger effort to create a multimodal transportation hub. Transportation Enhancement (TE) funds, which focus on projects involving historic preservation, bicycle/pedestrian access, roadway beautification, and more, will be combined with other funds to complete the TE portion of the renovation ($96,000 from an anonymous donor and $20,000 from the State Historic Preservation Office). Greyhound has committed $60,000 and the remaining funds will come from regular transportation investment programs and state matching funds. Total estimated cost of the project is $874,154 which includes about $691,000 for the depot restoration and $183,000 to reconfigure and improve access for buses, bicyclists and pedestrians.

[The application] noted the 1889 Baggage Depot is one of the last 19th century railroad depots in Oregon. Salvaged from a fire in 1917 that burned Salem’s second railroad station, it became a stand-alone freight handling facility in 1918, but has been vacant for more than 20 years. The building sits next to the 1918 Beaux Arts Station, listed in the National Register of Historic Buildings.

By rehabilitating the facility, ODOT and its partners hope to create a regional multimodal transportation hub. Preliminary plans call for three phases of rehabilitation. In phase one, the building would receive extensive restoration work, including utilities, exterior wall finishes, restrooms, windows and doors. In phase two, the restoration would focus on the interior, such as bringing it up to compliance with ADA and building a ticket counter and waiting area. Phase three would include construction of bike and pedestrian access to the site and outdoor passenger amenities. Next steps include signing agreements with partners and retaining an architectural firm skilled in working with historic buildings.
The additional details on funding sources and staging are interesting. And you wonder just how much of the $183,000 is going to undo the work the City has just put in.  Hopefully, too, they will look at the whole street grid here and make all the connections, not just at 12th and Mill, more direct and safe.  You know, so like an entire family with kids could bike to the station!

Curiously, the request for the Minto Bridge and Path is not included in the press release, and it will be interesting to learn if it ran into trouble or if ODOT just didn't think it also merited a press release.  Maybe we'll learn more today.

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