Hamilton council votes to save both buildings of historic CSX train station

This picture was displayed Wednesday by a proponent of saving both buildings that are part of Hamilton's historic station along the CSX rail lines that the city plans to move about two blocks north along Martin Luther King Boulevard. PROVIDED
Caption
This picture was displayed Wednesday by a proponent of saving both buildings that are part of Hamilton's historic station along the CSX rail lines that the city plans to move about two blocks north along Martin Luther King Boulevard. PROVIDED

Both 19th century buildings that are part of Hamilton’s historic train station along the CSX line will be standing in the year 2021, Mayor Pat Moeller predicted before City Council voted 5-2 on Wednesday to save and move the two of them.

Before Wednesday’s council meeting, city staff prepared two pieces of legislation: One that would have saved only one of the station’s two buildings (the one-story structure, which is older) and another that would direct city staff to move both buildings onto new foundations that will be created for them at 409 Maple Ave.

The city has said it would cost about $600,000 to move both buildings onto new foundations and make minor repairs to prevent further damage. For only the single-story building, the cost would have been about $400,000.

The $600,000 to $650,000 cost to move both buildings will come from the city’s general fund. Council members Carla Fiehrer and Susan Vaughn voted against the move.

Dan Finfrock of Fairfield, who at an earlier meeting called the station the most important commercial structure still standing in Hamilton, urged officials Wednesday: “Let’s move both buildings and not do the job halfway.”

The city said the station not only hosted visits by presidents Abraham Lincoln, Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, but also by Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover.

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City Manager Joshua Smith earlier said it would cost $1.8 million to move only the single-story building, which hosted Lincoln’s visit before the other was built and also bring it to a state where a tenant would only have to decorate the inside and add equipment and furnishings to move in. No estimate has been offered for the costs of bringing both buildings to that state.

Fieher and Vaughn have expressed concerns that moving the buildings, which were built by the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad, could damage them. They also said Hamilton had bigger needs and worried about unexpected unknown costs the saving the buildings, for which there is no tenant.

“We all know it will cost more for two buildings than it will for one, but I’m going to go forward about a hundred years,” Moeller said. “I don’t know how many buildings are still going to be still standing in 2021, historic or non-historic, but I’ve got a funny feeling that if we are able to save both of these buildings, both these buildings will still be standing a hundred years from now.

This rendering, created by landscape architect Dan Schneider, who volunteered his work, shows a vision of what Hamilton's historic CSX station could look like when moved to a new location, about two blocks from where it now is. PROVIDED
Caption
This rendering, created by landscape architect Dan Schneider, who volunteered his work, shows a vision of what Hamilton's historic CSX station could look like when moved to a new location, about two blocks from where it now is. PROVIDED