Wednesday, May 03, 2000

Proposal to restore CSX station renewed

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — City Council is making another effort to restore the CSX Railroad passenger station on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

        The city has applied through the Great American Station Foundation for a $15,000 matching grant to redevelop the railroad station and the surrounding area.

        “There are a lot of people in the community who are interested in seeing this project move forward. The energy, the manpower and the synergy are there,” said Mayor Adolf Olivas. “I hope we can get it done.

        “My understanding from the history of this project is that CSX needs a place where they can store their equipment and dispatch their manpower.

        “I've got to believe there is an area of city-owned property somewhere along those tracks suitable for a pole barn-type of garage, so they would vacate the station. I think if we can make that leap of faith to find land (or) trade land with the railroad, then we can have the station to ourselves.”

        City Manager Steve Sorrell said Hamilton has been trying to get CSX to donate the station, which is used as an Amtrak stop, for several years.

        “We would like to restore it. We'd consider making it into a real nice restaurant or a railroad museum; but until the city owns that property none of that can take place,” Mr. Sorrell said.

        Councilman George McNally said he would “support building a structure for them (CSX) if they would give us that railroad (station) as a tourist attraction.”

        The city would use the money from the grant to hire a private consultant to determine a potential use for the station or whether it could be redeveloped.

        City officials expect a decision about the grant in two to four months.

        “It's truly a historic building. It's beautiful inside,” Mr. Sorrell said.

        He said city officials would even be open to the idea of private developers helping restore the station.


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