WATERBURY, VT. – Residents gathered on October 6, 2016 to celebrate 10 years since the rehabilitation of the community’s historic 1875 railroad depot. The project still stands as an example of successful collaboration among the local non-profit, governmental and business sectors.
The day also marked the 25th anniversary of Revitalizing Waterbury (RW), the non-profit organization that spearheaded the depot project. Established to “preserve and enhance the economic, historic and social vitality of downtown Waterbury,” RW is a nationally-accredited Main Street Program and a “Designated Downtown”under a state initiative to help towns preserve their historic character and enhance their centers.
The dual celebration took place throughout the day at the Green Mountain Coffee Visitors Center & Café located in the depot. Visitors were invited to check out the new refresh of the café, see the community room to learn more about the station and Waterbury and enjoy specials and treats.
Waterbury depot has long been the centerpiece of the village square. When RW began advocating for the depot’s rehabilitation in the late 1990s, signs of deterioration were clear. While structurally sound, it had lost its Italianate ornamentation and the interior had been reconfigured.
RW moved forward and won grants from the Great American Stations Foundation,Vermont Agency of Transportation and the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Foundation to finance the renovation. Matching funds were raised from numerous individuals and the private sector.
Plans called for the station to be restored to its original appearance. Corrective structural work was done on the trackside wall and canopy and water drainage problems were addressed. The baggage building on the east side of the station was rebuilt, as was the bell-shaped cupola crowning the central tower. Inside, crews exposed the 18-foot-high original vaulted ceiling and brought plumbing and electrical systems up to code.
The village of Waterbury arranged for RW to lease the property, which in turn struck a deal with Green Mountain Coffee to sublease space in the building. The coffee roaster, based in town, opened a café and visitors center in the depot, which remains a popular gathering spot. RW subsequently purchased the depot in 2008.
In addition to housing commercial functions and a community room, the depot is served by the daily Vermonter (Washington-New Haven-St. Albans). In fiscal year 2015, nearly 5,900 Amtrak customers began or ended their journey at Waterbury. The Vermonter is financed primarily through funds made available by the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Connecticut DOT and the Massachusetts DOT.
Images courtesy of Revitalizing Waterbury.