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The Purpose

 

    There are a number of reasons why we are restoring the depot.

 

    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 Mattoon.

 

    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. 

 

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