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11:46 PM Mon, Nov. 12th

Kingman plans railroad park downtown

A park between the Powerhouse Visitor Center and the railroad depot could become a reality if Kingman's grant application is approved.

The vision is to link the visitor center and the renovated Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway depot with a park that will encourage tourists to stay downtown longer.

"Tourists do stop at the Powerhouse Visitor Center for information," Rob Owen, Kingman principal planner, said.

"If we can encourage them to watch the trains from the benches and walk to the depot, we have a good chance to keep them in Kingman."

City officials expect the restored train depot to attract tourists, especially "train buffs" who want to know more about the history of train travel through Kingman.

A portion of the loading dock could become a viewing platform and a place for photos of the trains.

Kingman grants administrator Bill Shilling said an agreement between the railroad and Amtrak is near completion.

Amtrak's waiting room would be moved back into the depot, and Kingman would sublease the other part of the depot for office use, possibly for the public transit coordinator.

Owen will take the plans to the Kingman City Council in August for approval of the application.

The Western Area Council of Governments then would review the $486,540 grant application before sending it on to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The grant is federally funded

Owen said a decision on the Kingman Railroad Pathway Landscaping Project, estimated to cost $486,540, would likely come in February.

The federal grant would pay 94.3 percent of the construction and acquisition costs.

The city share would be $22,732, according to project estimates.

Owen said the city would be negotiating with a property management representative of BNSF to acquire the land.

The railroad would specify the distance and kind of fencing needed for safety and for maintenance of the tracks.

A $450,000 federal grant already has been approved for the depot renovation.

A study of the historic features and structural condition of the depot has been completed.

The next step in the depot renovation project is a meeting July 23 for public comment and suggestions prior to drawing plans.

Historic architect Bill Otwell will share design concepts and ideas at that time.

Owen said representatives from BNSF, Amtrak, ADOT and the State Historic Preservation Office have been invited to the July 23 meeting.

"We want interested residents to come, look at the plans and help shape the future of downtown Kingman," Owen said.