Letters to the Editor

Depot future

August 29, 2008


To the editor:

Yes, Depot Redux and volunteers from Lawrence Modern are working hard to brighten the long-neglected passenger rail depot in East Lawrence. The city deserves credit, too. The Department of Public Works assisted in the removal of the hundreds of pounds of accumulated sand that hid the original brick parking lot.

The Depot Redux board has also been working with the city as it navigates the complexities of ownership transference of the facility. The needs of all parties involved in the transaction - the city, BNSF and Amtrak - must be met in a satisfactory manner. This will take time.

Neither our group nor the city is interested in an ownership arrangement that will become a burden to the taxpayers. In addition to the waiting room and bathrooms, the facility offers beautiful office space. If the city does not claim this extra space, so convenient to City Hall, for its own use, Depot Redux will help the city plan another use. This use would need to provide a revenue stream to cover the cost of owning and maintaining the building, benefit the neighborhood, and the passengers that use the depot. The amount of surplus space in the building will be part of the final ownership transference agreement. As that is unknown at this time, it is not possible to plan for its use.

Carey Maynard-Moody,
chairwoman, Depot Redux


Richard Heckler 9 years, 9 months ago

Making use of existing resources saves tax dollars. Surely no one believes that same building could be constructed for just one dollar at todays cost?The two warehouse projects,the New Urbanism Project,the Lawrence Bedroom Community and local real estate developers receiving corporate welfare are the largest and most consistent tax dollar boondoggles of all time.Our city's current budget crunch could easily be tied directly to infrastructure expenses needed to serve new housing developments. The community is way over extended in this regard. If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch. But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by residential housing does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality.Why not IMPACT FEES or EXCISE TAXES? Local real estate developers have had a great time laughing all of the way to the bank on the backs of taxpayers. This is the root of the problem.Buying the Train Depot for a buck will go down in history asone of the city's most fiscal responsible decisions considering train travel is back on track. Last November our train ride from Philadelphia to KCMO was loaded with passengers. During an Indiana layover more passenger cars were added. A 5 hour Chicago layover put us in downtown with plenty of sighseeing that made the 5 hoursslip by quickly... wayyyyy better than any airport layover.Affordable bus and train public transportation served us well.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 9 months ago

No doubt the neighborhood is pleased that someone cares.Train travel is usually more fun than driving. Why? Because when you are driving so many sights of nature or old old architecture are missed.If you wish to travel for a longer period of time without a car using a combination of train,bicycles, public transportation and Youth Hostels allows one to accomplish such a feat. When we on the USA road for 4 months that worked perfectly. The train considered our bicycles as luggage and provided a cardboard bike unit for the bikes to travel safely. We met so many friendly people on that excursion.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 9 months ago

"Neither our group nor the city is interested in an ownership arrangement that will become a burden to the taxpayers."Groups like this rarely have a definition of "tax burden" that the rest of us would ever agree with. "No, it'll only cost $3M per year for the 64 people who use the services."

notajayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says: "Train travel is usually more fun than driving. Why? Because when you are driving so many sights of nature or old old architecture are missed."[Since merrill posted this verbatum to two threads, I'm happy to post my reply in both places as well.]Of course, that assumes that the sights of nature or old architecture you want to see are within sight of the window of the train.How many times have you taken the train from here to, say, NYC, merrill? Those sights of nature or old architecture change much, did they? Do you have any idea how many other sights you've missed that you could have seen had you chosen a parallel route in the car? And taken a different one each time? Or maybe even taken a side trip, a detour, to something that's off the path a ways?How about if you wanted to stop and take a picture or two, so you could save those sights and look at them again any time you wanted to without repeating the trip? How about if you wanted to stop and look around, read what it says on that historical marker, maybe even go inside? How about if you liked that quaint little town so much you decided what the heck, I think I'll stop and spend the night in that nice little bed and breakfast and look around some more tomorrow?Maybe it's more fun for you, merrill, if your idea of fun is watching life go by past the window of the train. But if you want to stop and actually experience it, you're pretty much SOL.

notajayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "Gosh Merrill, did you realized you were missing so much in life? Taking the train to get somewhere isn't enough, you also need to be able to stop on a whim like nota..."Maybe you can get a five year old to come to the nursing home and read to you so you can understand the posts a little better, jackie. merrill is the one who said the advantage of riding the train was the scenery, and I merely pointed out that if that's the case, driving greatly expands the possibilities for seeing a wider range of scenic views and experiences. But I keep forgetting - you're the one who argues that we should only be allowed to take what we're given when it's given to us. Sad, jackie. "I still wonder how all those great things from the past ever got done when they didn't have cars."That's simple, jackie.They didn't.

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