Archive for Friday, October 9, 2009

Depot ‘worth saving,’ visitor says

Shelli Ulmer, left, with Hernly Associates, and Christy Davis, with Davis Preservation, both set up and work Thursday in the lobby area of the old Santa Fe depot. The architects selected by the city of Lawrence to evaluate the condition of the city’s Amtrak station got an up-close look with the historical 1955 building.

Shelli Ulmer, left, with Hernly Associates, and Christy Davis, with Davis Preservation, both set up and work Thursday in the lobby area of the old Santa Fe depot. The architects selected by the city of Lawrence to evaluate the condition of the city’s Amtrak station got an up-close look with the historical 1955 building.

October 9, 2009

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How would you like to see the Amtrak depot improved?

I would like to see the Amtrak depot incorporate the theme of arts and the environment.

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Alternate uses for depot discussed

Area residents gathered Thursday to discuss other uses for the east Lawrence train depot. A current restoration plan will be brought up with city commissioners in December. Enlarge video

A quarter of a century after moving into the neighborhood, Aaron Blosser stepped inside the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail depot and liked what he saw.

As momentum builds for restoring and updating the 1950s-era station, he’s hopeful that the transportation hub can chug along for decades to come.

“It’s a building that’s worth saving, and it needs energy put into it,” said Blosser, who lives five blocks away. “If it just stays an empty building, it won’t last another 10 years, but if people put energy into it, it’ll be here for our kids’ kids.”

Blosser was among more than two dozen visitors Thursday to drop by the depot, the subject of a $25,000 study to determine its restoration needs and future enhancement possibilities.

Hernly Associates Inc., an architecture and design firm conducting the study, plans to forward its results to Lawrence city commissioners in December.

Already certain to be in the report will be basic upgrades — including replacement roofing, updated bathrooms and reconditioned aluminum doors — necessary both to keep the structure functioning as an Amtrak station and to accommodate additional uses that could come along in the future, architect Stan Hernly said.

All without disrupting the structure’s historic feel.

“It still has original furniture,” Hernly said. “It’s like a little time capsule. Part of what we’re doing is trying to keep that time capsule feel while bringing it up to modern standards.”

City commissioners are interested in acquiring the building, 713 E. Seventh St., from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. Amtrak already has set aside money to make some upgrades at the site.

Additional uses suggested during a previous meeting included accommodating a wintertime farmers market, adding a 24-hour diner and providing an observation post for watching bald eagles.

Among other ideas that surfaced Thursday: adding displays depicting the history of the BNSF station and the Union Pacific Depot in North Lawrence; developing the area north of the station; and providing an area for bus transportation.

Comments

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

It's an active train station so why not clean it and use it as such. More train travel is on the horizon. This plan is far better than building a new one. Preserving an existing resource for future use is smart use of tax dollars.

puddleglum 5 years, 5 months ago

only worth saving if we can go ahead with my dragstrip idea...

Stuart Evans 5 years, 5 months ago

it cost $25,000 to do a study on fixing it up? seriously? I know 10 contractors that would walk completely through that place and give a free quote. that $25k could have been used for the roof that they say needs replacing. and that building was only built in the 50's? Its a neat building and all, but it's not even a century old. how historic is that?

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

There you go again Normal, We've been through this. No contractor I know would give you a concrete estimate without a set of plans to look at. Lets try not to re-hash lost arguments from previous threads, it really doesn't do anything to boon your arguments and is really kind of sad.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 5 months ago

This discussion would be laughable if it didn't involve so much taxpayer money. What a waste!

I literally want the 32 cents that this is costing me returned ($25,000/approximately 80,000 Lawrence residents). And this is just the beginning of the expenditures.

zzgoeb 5 years, 5 months ago

Ok kids, let's try this again...Today's topic is the use and repair of the depot...NOT the cost of the study. And consumer1, have you ever ridden a train...it's really a great experience! EVERYBODY'S grandpa road the US by rail in WW2...so why not today?

Next time, let's try to discuss one topic at a time, ok? Duh!!!

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 5 months ago

zzgoeb,

The use and repair of a near-useless depot will cost us all a lot of money. That's why we're rightfully complaining about wasting money on WWII-era transport.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"No contractor I know would give you a concrete estimate without a set of plans to look at."

That really depends on the nature of the work required. If it's merely fixing it up as is, and there are no structural problems, getting a few bids from contractors would be all that's required.

But that doesn't seem to be what the city commission is expecting.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 5 months ago

STRS,

Don't forget the billions in government stimulus cash King Obama allocated for the development of passenger rail. By your argument the Holy One is wasting out taxpayer dollars and costing us all money. Rail travel is a great thing and as "progressive" as Lawrence is I would think most citizens would embrace it. Looks like your in the loud but irrelevant minority on this one.

hail2oldku 5 years, 5 months ago

zz - that other fine government run agency, Amtrak, is going to have to learn how to run more efficiently before more people will be able to afford to travel by train. I would love to take the train, kick back and relax, but at the rates they charge it's cheaper to fly.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"I would love to take the train, kick back and relax, but at the rates they charge it's cheaper to fly."

It's a smaller system than air travel and relies on sharing freight rails to function in most of the country, and it receives considerably less in the way of subsidies, so small wonder.

Bobo Fleming 5 years, 5 months ago

Heres the deal. Right now the amtrack Chief arrives in Lawrence around 5:30 a.m.It arrives in KC around 7:20. So you have a choice of getting to the Lawrence station at that time of the morning in that neighborhood in the dark or getting on in KC. I choose KC. But if the Lawrence station was well lighted with other people getting on at that time a drop off there instead of going to KC would be do able. So fix up the station because the Amtrak Chief to Chicago is a lot of fun and much cheaper for two that flying.

Stuart Evans 5 years, 5 months ago

i didn't realize that i'd argued contractor estimates on these forums before. in fact, I'm sure I haven't. But I did notice on my way to work that the roof is actually being worked on as we speak (err type)

Bobo Fleming 5 years, 5 months ago

to just another-bozo. Not necessary cheaper to fly. rail to Chicago for two seniors is around $140.00 round trip. Besides its a lot of fun. Reminds me of going on my honeymoon which was Santa Fe Chief to Chicago. Try the train and take the kids because its a lot of fun. No airport hassel. Can keep your shoes on. My wife has a hip replacement and gets wanded at the airport and put in an isolation booth while the FBI comes and checks with homeland security, the CIA ect. She is a dangerous chracter but only to me, wont blow up planes.

Stuart Evans 5 years, 5 months ago

I think taking the train through the west & midwest would be a lot of fun. out east.. not so much. the train ride from DC to Atlantic city was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. As that particular train goes through some of the worst slums America can possibly have. and oh ya, it stopped at most of them.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 5 months ago

All of this discussion of "fun" rail travel is nice, but for serious commuters who don't have time to reminisce about honeymoons and grandkids, we need to focus on more realistic forms of transportation. Wasting money on nostalgia and pipe dreams does not provide real-world solutions.

Boston_Charley 5 years, 5 months ago

Fixing up the Union Pacific depot in North Lawrence has certainly proved worthwhile. The space is used for all kinds of events and gatherings and is a real plus for the community. Even putting aside all arguments about the future of rail travel, reviving this depot building could also be an excellent use of an existing resource.

BigPrune 5 years, 5 months ago

Is this thing really necessary? Gosh, arcitects usually charge 7% so are they thinking a minimum $360,000 to redo the depot? They could tear it down and put up a brand new one for that cost.....but we live in an insane world, Obama won the Nobel prize for what I don't know....

jhokfan 5 years, 5 months ago

Reagan and Bush spent money like there was no tomorrow and created huge deficits. Why all of a sudden are conservatives so concerned about spending?

KansasVoter 5 years, 5 months ago

jhokfan (Anonymous) says… "Why all of a sudden are conservatives so concerned about spending?"

They only like to spend money when it involves killing people.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"All of this discussion of “fun” rail travel is nice,"

I took the train to Chicago several times when I was working there a few years ago. It'd be nice if they didn't have to share the tracks with freight, which could cut the travel time by at least a couple of hours, but as senegal66025, given that you don't have to have someone drive to the airport, and it drops you off in downtown Chicago, it's still not a bad way to go.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"$360,000 to redo the depot? They could tear it down and put up a brand new one for that cost"

Double that number, and you might be in the ball park.

suggestionbox 5 years, 5 months ago

This is a cool building. It's retro and within a short walk to Mass Street. I'm glad it is getting some attention.

TriSigmaKS 5 years, 5 months ago

I LOVE the idea of a Winter Farmer's Market and even a diner isn't a bad idea.

Mark Kostner 5 years, 5 months ago

I think the most most logical use is for a transit center. In addition to the Amtrak Southwest Chief and the proposed Oklahoma/Texas train, you could move Greyhound there and have the city and KU buses stop there. Last year I flew into KCI and took a shuttle to Lawrence and they had no downtown stop and this place could have served the airport shuttle bus as well. There have been proposals bandied about over the years for a commuter train and this would make a good location for that if that ever happens. Many communities around the country are making old train stations into Amtrak/Greyhound/City bus centers. When I was in Lawrence last year there was no city bus center, and I don't know if you have one in the works, but if not, this place might work'

quimby 5 years, 5 months ago

suggestionbox - I fully agree with you. i'm really excited to see this building repurposed and envigorated. all this talk about how much it's going to cost is pretty irrelevant. r.e. things that are done with public money - sometimes we directly benefit, sometimes we don't. some projects would rather not see our money go towards, some we do. we determine these things with our dollars and at the polls.

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 5 months ago

Marion writes: "Then why not put this project to a public vote?"


You are starting to sound like your architecture friend. I guess he is disappointed that he didn't get this contract. How is he going to sue on this one? Who are you going to threaten to vote out of office? Wait, he already tried that. Does he want a vote on every project he does not win?

headdoctor 5 years, 5 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says… Have any of you people actually gone down there and looked at the layout of that place?


It never ceases to amaze me just how much you have to pop off about things in a town where you do not live about things that do not effect you. Even when you cover us up with your BS it is always wrong. Sort of reminds me of someone talking just to hear their self rattle.

headdoctor 5 years, 5 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says… I am amused at the number of people, who in time of economic crisis, are quite willing to spend a million or more of OPM ; “Other People's Money”, on a old ratty brick buildindg which has absolutely zero “historic” importance!


You are hardly the one to be complaining about using other people's money.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

zzgoeb (Anonymous) says…

"everybody's grandpa road the US by rail in WW2…so why not today?"

Pretty much for the same reason we don't travel by horse-drawn wagon anymore.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

"it receives considerably less in the way of subsidies"

Not percentage-wise. Half of every Amtrak ticket sold in this country is paid for by tax dollars. It gets smaller subsidies in terms of absolute numbers because only 1% of the population travels that way.

cowboy 5 years, 5 months ago

the depot is what it is , a non descript 1950's utility building , if you want a depot build a new one with 1800's appeal , make an investment that will have an impact .

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"Not percentage-wise. Half of every Amtrak ticket sold in this country is paid for by tax dollars."

What's your source? I will guarantee that whatever it is, it externalizes much of the total subsidies that air travel gets.

zzgoeb 5 years, 5 months ago

hail2oldku

Have you tried flying to La Junta CO, or Raton, NM? It's impossible short of a private charter. I paid $122 roundtrip to Raton. Amtrak allows you to bring you own food and drinks, doesn't strip search you, and is quicker than car travel.

SettingTheRecordStraight

Cars are 19th Century technology! Checked mpg on a train lately...beats your SUV!!! We need more trains, faster trains....jobs will be created, energy saved....

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Where's Cato's estimate of subsidies to airlines, Marion? That bit of info is oddly lacking, don't you think?

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

Not to mention that we don't calculate the true cost of a barrel of oil, either. If we did, and had to pay for it at the pump, no one would drive anything.

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