Weekly Feature

2018-08-09 / Front Page

Reconstruction efforts set to begin at Orchard Park Railroad Depot


Long-awaited repairs to the outside of the Orchard Park Railroad Depot will begin soon, continuing longstanding efforts by depot advocates to restore the area.

To announce the restoration efforts, the Western New York Railway Historical Society held a first-shovel event with elected officials, society members and depot supporters on Aug. 2.

Last year, the society received funding aid from state Sen. Chris Jacobs and former Assemblyman Michael Kearns, now the Erie County clerk. Jacobs secured $150,000, while Kearns provided $40,000. This money was combined with donations from the community.

In total, more than $300,000 was raised for the restoration efforts, according to village Trustee Francis Hogenkamp.

According to the society, the work will consist of the removal, cleaning and replacement of the original brick platform pavers; replacement of the wood platform roof support columns; installation of a new drainage system; and a re-grading of the property around the depot, closer to its original level.

East Aurora-based Lemur Construction Corp. will be the contractor, while EB&S Experienced Brick and Stone of Amherst will handle the restoration of the brick platform around the depot. The depot is on both the national and state registers of historic places.

“This is a wonderful day for us who have been working so hard to get a start on this reconstruction,” said Hogenkamp, who has been involved with renovations at the depot for many years.

Construction to the outside of the 106-year-old depot will begin in August, Hogenkamp said. He added that the depot will be closed only when contractors are working near the entrance to the historic landmark. The depot is open for tours from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Jacobs applauded the project being taken on by all stakeholders.

“It’s great the way this has been a community, public and private partnership effort,” Jacobs said. “It’s one thing about getting things reconstructed, but it’s also about carrying on the mission and the catalyst we want this to be, to be a community asset moving forward.”

The depot is home to the Orchard Park Garden Club’s plant sale; the village’s ice cream social and street dance; Oktoberfest; and Holiday in the Park. The depot was also featured in the 2017 film “Marshall.”

Kearns, another significant contributor to the restoration effort, said he was more than willing to help aid the depot.

“I’m honored to play a small part in the preservation of this great depot,” Kearns said.

Hogenkamp reiterated that the restoration efforts will continue after the platform is worked on, with a hope to repair the roof.

To donate to the efforts, interested parties can stop by the depot at 395 S. Lincoln Ave.

email: cgraham@beenews.com

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