Oxford’s $25.8M transportation station to offer ‘freedom of people to move about’

Groundbreaking ceremony starts construction of the station to serve cars, bikes, pedestrians and, potentially, passenger rail.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story included incorrect financial information provided to the Journal-News on the project, and we have updated this story.

A $25.8 million Chestnut Street Multimodal Station was lauded on Friday as “selfless cooperation” that will provide transportation freedom not just for the Oxford community.

A couple dozen people were at the snowy Chestnut Fields in Oxford to celebrate what many have called a transformative project for the county, one that will not just be a hub for passenger connections for the Butler County Regional Transit Authority, but also a future location for passenger rail.

“In today’s environment, nothing long-lasting can be accomplished without collaboration,” said Butler County Commission Don Dixon, who called this project another example of “selfless cooperation in Butler County.”

This project is a partnership between the Butler County RTA, Miami University, the city of Oxford and Talawanda schools.

The multimodal station at 97 W. Chestnut St. has been more than a decade in the making. In addition to bus service and rail, it will be a park-and-ride for cars, a connector for bikes as the fifth phase of the Oxford Area Trails will connect to the station.

Oxford Vice Mayor Chantel Raghu acknowledged all the city officials and administrators who have worked on the project and said the station wouldn’t happen without them, nor the community.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

“We don’t do anything without public support,” she said. “This facility is more than just a beautiful building ― and it is a really beautiful building ― it is the freedom of people to move about. It means they have the freedom to go to their job, they have the freedom to go to their doctor, and this impacts our elderly population, first and foremost, who no longer can drive, and people with disabilities. This is an amazing thing. This is transformative.”

The Chestnut Street Multimodal Station is scheduled to be operational by late 2025, and will feature services for RTA and regional buses, state-of-the-art passenger waiting areas, public restrooms, bike storage, real-time transit information, passenger kiosks with customer service, and intermodal transfer bays.

By 2026, the platform for Amtrak’s Cardinal line is expected to be up and running, though there are a few I’s to dot and T’s to cross, Oxford officials have said.

While collectively, the project is near the $26 million price tag, it’s funding sources vary, including $1.6 million in from Miami University for the transportation center and $2.4 million from Butler County RTA. The university has also made an in-kind donation of the land as a 40-year lease. The Federal Transit Administration has invested $21.7 million into the project. The passenger rail side of the project received just more than $2 million from the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments.

Additionally, 5 of the Oxford Area Trails, which provides people with a path for bikes, scooters, and walkers and runners, is about a $5 million project.

“We’ve been working a long time working with our local and federal partners to make sure we come up with the right plan, talk with the community and get this project funded,” said Butler County RTA Executive Director Matthew Dutkevicz on Friday. “We’re so excited to be able to stand on a shovel today.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Ken Emling, director of public architecture with Bowen + Associate, told his boss in September 2020 immediately after meeting with Dutkevicz and others with the project: “We have to win this project. This is everything we do.”

They won the bid, and spent more than two years designing what he said is “a unique project.”

“Usually, when we work on projects, it’s either a transit center for the passengers or it’s a bus facility for the maintenance and operations of the bus. This is both,” he said of the 57,000-square-foot facility.

State Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, said this project will benefit not just the people in Oxford, but from all over, including her hometown of Hamilton, which is also seeking two Amtrak stops.

“It’s exciting to see the former Talawanda High School space serve the community as it will help Miami University students, help Oxford residents, and people from Hamilton travel,” she said. “Hopefully, in Hamilton, we’ll also be getting some (passenger) trains, and that will help everyone go all over.”

More projects like this are needed for the Butler County community for years to come, Carruthers said, as “we need to think for the future” making the commutes easier, safer and more comfortable for people.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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