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(rshsdepot) Richmond, IN

From the Palladium-Item=2E=2E=2E

Sunday, February 9, 2003
Depot area's rebuilding is vital to city

A critical mass is building in the old Depot District=2E Incrementally, it=
coming back to life, one building, one home, one storefront at a time=2E F=
ultimate and long-term success, the direct and indirect involvement of
elements as diverse as the city and the Richmond Community Schools also
will be required=2E=20
Richmond's Depot District, an area of large, multistory brick buildings,
was a center of commerce in the last part of the 19th century and the firs=
part of the 20th century=2E=20

The district declined=2E The brick-pillared former Pennsylvania Railroad
depot, for which the district is named, was abandoned and left to decay=2E=

Only the intervention of the city, the Urban Enterprise Association and
dedicated volunteers interested in railroad heritage and classical
architecture has kept the Depot from being demolished=2E=20

Even so, the city, the UEA and the volunteers are only rescuers and
caretakers=2E To date, despite good efforts that are continuing, none of t=
has been able to restore the 101-year-old structure=2E=20

Other districts in the city have been redeveloped and have become more
robust=2E The South Fourth Street area and the "uptown" business district
come to mind=2E But what sets the Depot District apart is the combination =
business and residential development=2E=20

Vital city neighborhoods have the combination of strong businesses and
residential comfort=2E Together, the Depot District businesses are a varie=
mix attractive to the residents and visitors: restaurants, a bar, art
galleries, wholesalers and some retail stores=2E=20

The large old hulk that was the Atlas underwear building has been turned
into attractive apartments and studios=2E Other people are taking on the t=
of repairing some of the area's large and beautiful old residences=2E=20

The Depot District is far from realizing its potential=2E There is a great=

deal of work to be done=2E But a great deal has been done during the last =

The city and UEA must continue to be alert for ways to help=2E Would impro=
public parking be helpful? Are the sidewalks in good shape? Could the
city's tree commission help make the area more attractive? Are green space=
and recreational facilities adequate? Is policing adequate to reasonably
ensure safety for the residents and businesses?=20

For an urban neighborhood like this to come back to life also requires
quality schools=2E It's important that the improvement programs under way =
Richmond Community Schools succeed=2E Every school in the district needs t=
be successful so that people will want to move back into the city=2E=20

More than anything government can do, the gradual yet consistent private
redevelopment in the Depot District might one day result in the restoratio=
of the former depot=2E The train station might yet become a useful
centerpiece for a neighborhood on the rebound=2E=20

But whether or not the Depot is saved, it is encouraging to see the
incremental business and residential development=2E It shows that many gro=
and individuals are working together, each doing a little, building on wha=
the others have done=2E=20

Because the Depot District shows what can be donewhen all these people
contribute, it is vital that the city pay attention and try to duplicate
the successes as the city builds a sustainable future=2E=20

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The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org


End of RSHSDepot Digest V1 #594

The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org