Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Meeting gets heated over discussion of Boones Mill train depot
A woman spearheading the effort to save the building accused town officials of not doing enough to help.
The Roanoke Times | File May
The Boones Mill train depot is abandoned and sits on land owned by Norfolk Southern Corp. The railroad has offered the station to the town of Boones Mill for $1 if the town will move it, but it is estimated that it will cost about $140,000 to relocate the depot.
- Woman scrambles to rescue Boones Mill's old train depot (Sept. 18, 2012)
- Boones Mill depot may get fresh burst of steam (May 17, 2012)
During the meeting at the Lions Club of Boones Mill, Lois Slotnick, president of Boones Mill Norfolk & Western Depot Restoration Inc., suggested the council was out of touch with the preservation effort. And she said that Town Manager Lynn Frith had written a letter that prematurely communicated to Norfolk Southern Corp., owner of the circa-1880s building, that the effort to save the depot had failed to raise the money necessary to move it off railroad property.
Slotnick said she believes the letter triggered Norfolk Southern to move forward with plans to tear the depot town.
Council Member Sarah Eames, one of 23 people at the meeting, objected.
Eames said Slotnick was being divisive and flinging mud when everyone in town should be working together to save the building.
“You are alienating people,” Eames said.
Meanwhile, Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman said in an email Monday that the railroad’s intentions haven’t changed.
“Yes, it is still our intent to demolish the building if not removed from the property,” Chapman said. “A date for demolition has not been set.”
Franklin County Building Official Peter Ahrens said Monday that his office has asked Norfolk Southern for more information related to the application for a demolition permit filed earlier this month by contractor L&S Plumbing and Excavating of New Castle.
On Monday morning, Frith said the town will not support Slotnick if the depot organization attempts to take legal action to halt the demolition.
Frith said a lot near the depot was considered as a possible relocation site but was ultimately ruled out because it was too small to accommodate much beyond the building itself.
Slotnick has described the depot as “the most significant building left in Boones Mill.”
She has said estimates suggest moving the building to a new site, placing it on a new foundation and related work would cost about $140,000. As of Monday, she said, pledges in support of saving the station total about $12,000, a figure that includes $6,000 Norfolk Southern had offered to donate to help get the building moved.
Slotnick said she hopes to talk this week to Wick Moorman, chairman, president and chief executive officer for Norfolk Southern, to ask him to either allow the town to leave the depot where it is or allow additional time to raise money to move it.