Wednesday, June 30, 2010

City has interest in vacant Oakley train station

Cincinnati's Department of Community Development plans to work with the Oakley Business District Advisory Committee to identify options for the redevelopment of a vacant passenger train station and additional public parking, department director Michael Cervay said in a recent memo to City Council.

The memo is in response to a May communication to Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls from John Hutton and Sandra Gross, owners of Brazee Street Studios, Blue Manatee Children's Bookstore and Decafé, who worried that the condition of the property at the end of Tracey Drive might hurt the investments that they and others have made in the Oakley business district.

Hutton and Gross suggested converting the station into a museum, community center, or other public use.

The 960-square-foot train station was built in 1871 to serve passengers on the Marietta & Cincinnati line, and was purchased by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1880. The station last served passengers in 1971, and was last used by a recycling business between 1991 and 2008.

Currently in the twentieth year of a 99-year lease held by owner CSX Transportation, the station is boarded up and vacant.

"The station building was reportedly leased to a private party via a 99-year lease beginning in 1991," Cervay said. "As such, and public/private partnership to redevelop the property would require the interest of the landowner and the building lessee in such a project."

While not directly visible from Madison Road, the eyesore is visible to those who visit the business district or utilize the adjacent pedestrian overpass.

"Given the revival taking place in this end of the Oakley Business District, it is appropriate for the Department of Community Development to investigate ways to eliminate blight and protect the investments that the City, State, and private business owners have made in the area," Cervay said.

The City's Property Maintenance Code Enforcement Division will continue to monitor the property for litter, debris, and building code violations, Cervay said.

Previous reading on BC:
Oakley business owners propose redevelopment of abandoned rail station (5/11/10)