Correction – March 24, 2014: The following corrections have been integrated into Citizen’s March 22 post of this story: Town Meeting voters will be asked to approve $215,000 in CPC funding. The cedar shingle roofing was completed in 2009 and is not included in current article. The rail car was a gift of the Friends of the Depot Park, not the Stander family.
By Meredith McCulloch
At the upcoming Annual Town Meeting, voters will be asked to approve an additional $215,000 of Community Preservation funds for Depot Park. Those funds will allow the completion of the exterior renovation of the building. The windows will be replaced with ones that are more appropriate for the period.
The Depot Park project got underway in1995 when Bedford received a federal Transportation Enhancement Grant of $1,128,968. Grants were also received from H. Albert Webb Memorial Railroad Preservation Award, and the Amherst Railway Society. Other funding has come from private donations.
In addition to preserving the building, one goal was to improve safety at the junction of Railroad Avenue, South Road and Loomis Street. Other improvements include the widening of the pedestrian area plus well-marked sidewalk and bicycle lanes and buried electrical wires. The seating area includes landscaping, a water fountain, a kiosk and bike racks. Restrooms are provided at the rear of the building.
The Depot building had 3600 square feet in four rentable units on the main floor. Two of those are currently occupied. The railway car was a gift to the Town from the Friends of Depot Park. It was refurbished in part by volunteer labor and can be rented for events. Income from rentals and proceeds from the sale of food, beverages and souvenirs exceeded the operating cost.
Costs from all sources have for the park been $2,942,582 of which $382,500 was from the Town. In 2013, the last complete fiscal year, the revenue at the park ($36,027) exceeded the expenses of $31,968. Over 87% of the total costs of Depot Park and the intersection improvement came from state, federal and private grants, gifts, plus volunteer labor.