Friday, December 21, 2012
sponsored by

IDOT looks to purchase Depot site on Chicago Street

Send a link to a friend

[December 21, 2012]  Monday evening the Lincoln City Council passed an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation. If all goes well, this could resolve some issues with the current Amtrak waiting place that have been ongoing for at least a decade.

The Amtrak structure where passengers wait for the next train to stop in Lincoln is currently located on property that belongs to the owners of the Depot Restaurant, which is now closed for daily business but available for meetings and banquets.

Over the years the city and the owner at the time have tried to reach agreements on how to care for and maintain the facility and have also addressed issues of liability regarding it.

In addition to the restaurant and the waiting station, the property is also home to the Lincoln christening site landmark.

Because the landmark and the station are important to the city of Lincoln, light maintenance of the property, such as cleaning the station, has been the responsibility of the city for the past several years.

In the past the owner has expressed he would like the city to purchase the entire property, which amounts to approximately one city block, with land on both sides of the railroad tracks.

Currently the property is listed with the Garrison Group out of Springfield.

Monday evening, Snyder said that with the St. Louis-to-Chicago high-speed rail corridor passing through Lincoln, the Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific are interested in obtaining property for a proper waiting station.

Because of this, IDOT wants the authority to negotiate a possible purchase of the Depot property on behalf of the city.

IDOT has received federal funding for the high-speed rail program. To date they have invested in track improvements and have conducted feasibility studies for location and improvement of current waiting stations.

In their plan, IDOT wants waiting stations to be nice, comfortable places for passengers to wait for trains. Their ideals include stations with public restrooms and coffee kiosks or shops.

The current structure does not meet those ideals, as it offers only a shelter with benches for sitting.

[to top of second column]

Snyder said IDOT has had the entire property appraised and is prepared to enter into negotiations for the property once they get the go-ahead from the council.

In his discussion, Snyder did not disclose how the property would be used if purchased, so it is not known if the current restaurant will be transformed into a station or if IDOT will want to construct something new.

If they are able to purchase the entire property, this will solve the issue of having a platform on both sides of the tracks. However, the most recent discussions about a station platform, conducted in 2011, disclosed that new platforms would need to be 500 feet long. Purchasing the one city block would not be sufficient to provide that, as a city block is typically only 350 feet long.

Nothing was said about whether or not there would be a need to purchase additional property for the proper platform.

When the motion came to a vote, the council agreed in a unanimous 6-0 vote to enter into a memorandum of understanding with IDOT. The six members present were Melody Anderson, David Armbrust, Kathy Horn, Marty Neitzel, Tom O'Donohue and David Wilmert. Stacy Bacon, Jeff Hoinacki, and Jonie Tibbs were absent for the evening.


Past related articles

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching and Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law and Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health and Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor