PROVO -- Repair and cleanup projects are in the works to restore Provo's ramshackle downtown train depot.
The city owns the land on which the depot sits, but Amtrak is responsible for maintaining the 20-by-12-foot metal-frame structure. The company has agreed to pay for repairs if the city takes the lead in arranging them.The depot has a Plexiglas roof with a 12-inch hole resulting from a fire set by vandals. Some of the Plexiglas windows are broken, and most are covered with graffiti.
Not only is the shelter a wreck, but the area around it is a mess as well. The ground is littered with broken beer bottles, and an abandoned car was scheduled to be towed from the site this week.
And with broken lighting, the entire place sits in the dark.
"It's definitely not a comfortable feeling out there," said city long-range planner Vern Keeslar. He spoke with Amtrak officials a few weeks ago about the condition of the depot.
Shortly afterward, Amtrak customer service manager John McVeigh visited the depot to survey the damage. He told the city to arrange for repairs to be made and to send Amtrak the bill.
Keeslar estimates it will cost $1,300 to replace several Plexiglas window panels.
"So far, Amtrak has been very cooperative in working with the city," he said.
Keeslar said city officials also want to tear down the depot's three existing spotlights. Two of the three are burned out, and the third light, which is supposed to shine on the platform, has been so vandalized that it barely emits any light.
City officials plan to talk to Union Pacific officials -- who are in charge of the lights -- to see if the city may take down the three bad lights and put up four new ones.
"Union Pacific is more difficult to get hold of, but as soon as we do we expect their full cooperation as well," Keeslar said.
He also is organizing a project to allow Brigham Young University students to help clean up the area, and McVeigh may recruit Boy Scouts to help clean up the shelter, perhaps in exchange for a ride on the train.
"I think we're going in the right direction," McVeigh said.
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