Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Railroad Landscaping Completed

Did you know that the Amtrak Station in downtown Centralia is the point of departure and arrival for over 20,000 riders every year? Amtrak is having it’s best year ever, with over 25 million riders nationwide in fiscal year 2007. Illinois is a big part of that. The Amtrak website states “Huge gains are tied to increased frequencies in Illinois, with the three routes between Chicago and downstate Illinois showing large increases.” Ridership for the Chicago to Carbondale corridor is up 67% with the addition of a third train on this route in late 2006.

Amtrak trains brought over 250,000 people through Centralia in 2007, and more of them got on and off the train here than ever. The City of Centralia has recognized that this is an important gateway to our community, and an image that those passengers will associate with our community. The City worked with the Centralia Foundation, who owns this land, to asphalt the long-term parking area for the Amtrak Station, as well as the overflow parking for the Recreation Complex. After this asphalt work was completed, the City had a significant amount of new landscaping installed. The Chamber of Commerce Image Committee helped select the winning design, which included the placement of new flag poles and benches on the corner of Broadway & Oak. This improved the look of the downtown not only for those of us driving by on Broadway, but especially for those riding the train.

The City of Centralia and the Chamber of Commerce Image Committee are currently working on further plans to improve the look of other rail crossings in Centralia, especially the 5th street crossing just south of Downtown.