There are a number of reasons why we are restoring the
1) Preventing a public hazard. It has long since been
obvious that the railroad had no interest in keeping the building in sound
condition. The only tenant of the depot is Amtrak, and they only lease,
not own the building. To prevent there being a big hole in the middle of
uptown Mattoon is reason enough to get involved.
2) Uptown redevelopment.
The depot is to be the
cornerstone of the redevelopment of the business district. Studies have
shown that restoration of in-use train depots have helped to significantly improve
the surrounding area.
3) High-speed rail project. While the future of this
project is cloudy, should it go forward, Mattoon has the only significant depot
in 45 miles that could handle a large amount of traffic. In addition, the
Chicago-Eastern Illinois University patronage is the very type of traveler that
the high-speed rail project is intended to serve . This patronage will not
go away any time soon, high-speed rail project or not.
4) Historic value. Mattoon owes its existence to the
railroads. Indeed, it is named after one of the railroad builders.
The depot is a natural expression of this history. In addition, there are
two other railroad structures still in existence, all within three blocks of
the IC depot. If all three are restored, it would represent a
"railroad park" that would help bring the railroad enthusiast to
5) Coles County Museum. In the future, the depot will house
the Mattoon Coles
County museum. Visitors will be able to learn
about the county and the
railroads that served it.