Advertisement

Archive for Friday, December 11, 2009

Depot restraint

City commissioners were smart to moderate their grant request for the Santa Fe depot.

December 11, 2009

Advertisement

Lawrence taxpayers should thank their city commissioners for showing appropriate restraint in applying for federal funding to preserve the Santa Fe depot in east Lawrence.

It was understandably tempting to apply for grant funds to cover the entire $1.35 million an architect’s report estimated it will take to complete the needed work on the depot. However, a grant that size would have required about $400,000 in matching funds from the city, an amount a majority of city commissioners was unwilling to commit given the city’s current budget constraints.

Instead, commissioners approved a grant application for just under $600,000 to pay for some of the building’s most pressing structural needs such as roof repairs, a fire sprinkler system and a new heating system. The $175,000 match that would be required for the grant would be far more manageable, but, as commissioners noted, the city also should be looking for other grants or private funding sources to cover that match.

Although local officials still need to work out an agreement to take ownership of the depot, it’s good to see this project moving forward. A federal grant would allow some giant steps in making the Santa Fe depot a more welcoming facility for Amtrak travelers, but commissioners were right not to get carried away in pursuit of “free” money.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

I wonder if the writer of this editorial has even the slightest idea about what sort of work has been excluded by going for the smaller grant.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

BTW, if commissioners are wondering where to come up with the money, here's a suggestion.

Instead of paying nearly one million dollars too much for the Crititech building, or giving the owners a possibly illegal defacto tax abatement (we still don't know which it is,) use that money for the depot work.

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

And if Bozo and his tribal friends would have not engaged in frivolous litigation on the SLT, the community would have saved tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars for this purpose too.

And then there are those walking paths to nowhere......

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

If the SLT never becomes a reality it will save taxpayers $250-$300 million for a project that will add several miles of tax increases for maintenance.

Not to mention preserving a natural flood control mechanism that requires very little maintenance. Just keeps on holding water. Yes wetlands are worth billions to taxpayers.

Boeing 5 years ago

$175,000 is still a lot for a nearly useless building in this economy. But, this is Lawrence, so I should expect it...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Yea, that makes lots of sense, boston-- spending somewhere between an eighth and a quarter of a billion dollars to pave the Haskell Wetlands would be a great way to "save money."

beawolf 5 years ago

"$175,000 is still a lot for a nearly useless building in this economy. But, this is Lawrence, so I should expect it…"

Almost 5,000 passengers used this facility last year. I wouldn't call that useless.

This was a nice compromise.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years ago

"Instead of paying nearly one million dollars too much for the Crititech building, or giving the owners a possibly illegal defacto tax abatement (we still don't know which it is,) use that money for the depot work."

You and I have opposing perspective on what is logical in this situation. If the depot is restored, we then have a polished turd. It'll sit out there by the river doing nothing. It has no function other than a place for a few people to get on a train. The Crititech building, however, is far more viably functunal. It has much more potential as a structure. Many people could potentially WORK in the Crititech building, while the depot would just be another trophy of Lawrence's liberal activists.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"while the depot would just be another trophy of Lawrence's liberal activists."

So if it fits your political ideology, it's OK to give out a million in windfall profits, or to totally end run the tax abatement policy. If it's about facilitating the expansion of "liberal" train travel, then it's a "turd." That's some logic you got going there, Dad.

gccs14r 5 years ago

Except that the current owners couldn't get anybody to work in that building, so what makes you think the City can?

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

It has already been established that Merrill and Bozo did not support one of the world's premiere wind generation manufacturers to locate a facility with high quality jobs in Lawrence.

No job is good enough to attract to Lawrence, evidently.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"It has already been established"

Was that a formal decree by one of the resident royal "wee-wees?"

gccs14r 5 years ago

If you're going to play the blame game, Boston, blame the folks who insist on paving the wetlands instead of going a mile south to avoid them. The road controversy could have been resolved 20 years ago had they done that.

notajayhawk 5 years ago

beawolf (Anonymous) says…

"Almost 5,000 passengers used this facility last year. I wouldn't call that useless."

Wow. 13 people a day.

And are these 5000 separate people, bea, or the same 13 people taking it daily?


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

"If it's about facilitating the expansion of “liberal” train travel, then it's a “turd.” "

That's not the only reason.

Your support has a lot to do with that, too.

But seriously - you really think spending the million dollars is going to get more people to ride trains? People don't ride trains for two major reasons - 1) it's a freight rail line on which you will never be able to develop a workable schedule to anywhere worthwhile, and 2) nobody wants to ride trains.

gccs14r 5 years ago

Nobody wants to ride a train that doesn't exist, sure. Put in something that works and people will flock to it. Who wants to spend two hours a day driving a car when they could spend half that time in a train and actually get some work done?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Let's implement a revenue-neutral carbon tax and equalize other subsidies, and then see how many people want to take a plane when a train will get them there at less than half the price.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

It would cost more to build a new one ... why do that?

Lawrence needs an active train depot for now and in the future. So lets fix up the existing resource on the same plot of land and save some dough.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.