Amtrak station making strides - – Rockford’s News Leader

Amtrak station making strides


Making Rockford's downtown a destination is what city leaders say will happen when the amtrak station opens up downtown.

"We want to promote activating all of downtown, whether they filter through the restaurants on the west side or the east side of the river," Rockford City Engineer, Matthew Vitner said.

Rockford city officials say building the Amtrak station will spark foot traffic through Rockford's downtown business district, if it's in the right location.

For the past few months, the city has been whittling down possible locations, thanks to feedback from residents.

The overwhelming consensus has next to Davis Park, with a view of the Rock River.

City engineers are leaning towards that location, but can't officially make that decision yet.

"Our first goal is to have a temporary platform before first train comes by the end of next year," Vitner said.

The problem is the condition of the tracks. Many only allow trains to go about 10 miles/hour when they need to go about 80 miles/hour.

Those tracks will need to be fixed.

The city says, that will alter how much it will spend, and ultimately what the station will look like.

So for now, the city is currently trying to get the design costs passed through council.

Those costs are about $3 million, but will be funded through federal and state grants.

The rest is in the city hands.

Some alderman, like Jamie Getchius, say they support a multi-modal station, but they say there's been a pattern where Rockford residents footed the bill for initiatives helping the entire region.

"Not every person that benefits from a job created by the train station will be from Rockford. We all work together. We are going to need help," Getchius said.

Vitner feels different.

"People when they get off the station are going to take advantage of the downtown whether they eat here, shop here, or make a purchase here. This isn't the Love's Park station this is the Rockford station," Vitner said.

Alderman hope to work out these details before passing the design costs at the next meeting.

The next community input meeting is at the end of January.

This meeting will focus on architectural details, look and style of the building.

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