The grant announced Thursday was smaller than supporters of the Santa Fe Depot may have hoped for, but it’s a start.
The Kansas Department of Transportation has received a federal grant for $87,563 that will finance engineering and design services that will set the stage for about $600,000 in needed restoration work at the depot, which now serves the city’s Amtrak passengers in east Lawrence. City commissioners will have to approve $25,000 in matching funds for the grant, but the opportunity to leverage $25,000 into $112,000 should be an easy sale.
The city’s effort to obtain a $583,000 federal grant for the depot was turned down earlier this summer, but the smaller grant will provide a complete set of construction plans that will make the project “shovel ready” if and when funding becomes available.
Much credit goes to Depot Redux, a local grassroots organization that has worked hard to spruce up the depot and draw attention to its potential as a site worth preserving. The group’s commitment to the project no doubt gave KDOT and federal officials confidence that the design work funded by the new grant wouldn’t be wasted.
Congratulations to Depot Redux and city officials pursuing this project. It’s good to see renovation plans moving forward.