CSX train depot relocation could be delayed

If the city of Hamilton cannot get the CSX train depot relocation project re-started by the first of September, it could be delayed.

Director of Infrastructure Edwin Porter said Hamilton officials notified Coon Restoration that if CSX has not approved its insurance documents by the close of business Wednesday, “the city is going to continue the work using an alternative contractor that currently has insurance that meets the CSX requirements.”

Hamilton City Engineer Rich Engle told City Council on Wednesday that the train company had not approved the insurance documents for Coon Restoration to work inside the former train depot.

Once the tin ceiling is removed and the door and window openings are braced, another company will be moving the two-building structure roughly three-tenths of a mile.

Coon Restoration submitted insurance documents to CSX during the first week of August, and the company was expected to start work last week.

“I have been pestering the CSX representative that’s been assigned to work with us on this project daily to find out what’s going on with the review of the insurance for Coon Restoration,” Engle told City Council at Wednesday’s meeting.

Until those window and door openings are braced, work cannot proceed, Engle said.

Hamilton agreed to purchase the CSX train depot on Martin Luther King Boulevard and relocate it several hundred feet north at Maple and MLK Boulevard. The foundation where the two-building structure will rest has been poured and cured and is ready to accept the building.

The city is also waiting for CSX to approve the purchase agreement, which was sent to the train company on June 20.

The city allocated $2 million to move and restore historic parts of the two structures, including windows, doors, roof, and tin ceiling tiles.

Once the structures are moved onto a new foundation, the building will be put into a “white box” condition where a restaurant, bar, or some other business could complete business-specific interior upgrades and occupy it.

Hamilton city officials report that the station had hosted visits by several U.S. presidents, including Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover.

Engle said he’s “hopeful” they can start soon as Coon Restoration is ready to go when given the green light, “but again, until we get through the bureaucracy of CSX, we can’t move forward with it.”

Since the foundation where the CSX building will be moved is complete, the only issue will be weather, and that should be an issue as long as it’s completed by mid-December.

Council member Carla Fiehrer asked Engle, “At what point is it too late to make the move and we have to wait?”

“If we can’t get started by the first of September, it’s going to be very difficult to get it complete. It’s going to take a couple of weeks to do the bracing, plus the removal of the tin ceilings in both structures, and a few more days after that to get the intermediate building removed between the two historic structures.”

The actual move will take around seven weeks, and there will be another two to three weeks to install block layers underneath the structures at the foundation.

“So, I am concerned,” Engle said.

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