EDWARDSVILLE — After years of being the subject of ideas, visions and the backdrop for high school senior portraits, the old Nickel Plate Depot appears poised for another move, a makeover and a restored purpose.
Last week, the Lewis and Clark Community College (L& C) Board of Trustees unanimously approved a long-term lease with the city of Edwardsville for a plot on the southwest corner of the N.O. Nelson, along Buchanan Street, to perch old depot as a permanent home. Since 1989, it’s rested temporarily on blocks in the northwest corner of the Edwardsville campus.
“We have been working with historic agencies in that area for many years trying to find a way to restore this building,” said L&C Vice President of Administration Lori Artis. “The city of Edwardsville has since taken ownership and has pledged $100,000 toward its restoration in this year’s fiscal budget.”
She said the total project is estimated cost about $300,000. There are plans by Edwardsville to start soliciting private donations.
The two-room building was erected in 1883 at 447 S. Buchanan St. as part of the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad. It was decommissioned in 1967 and used as quarters for railroad employees until 1983, and later moved to its current location.
Since then, “It’s sat on blocks, just waiting for its train to come in, so to speak,” said Edwardsville Fourth Ward Alderman SJ Morrison, who has helped spearhead more recent efforts.
The city accepted ownership of the building in March. Morrison at that time said he figured it would take a couple years for their to be significant progress on plans.
“What we would like to do is a full restoration, inside and out, including adding an ADA-accessible restroom,” he said. “We want this to be, not just a place where people can come and learn about the history of railroading and the history of the community, but also a visitors’ center. We want it to be a place where visitors and resident come and see what’s going on in our community.”
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