Looking for a rail bargain: Rouses Point coveting D&H Station for museum PDF Print E-mail
Written by By SUZANNE MOORE Staff Writer   
Saturday, May 26, 2001

ROUSES POINT — Rouses Point is working on the railroad station — still trying to acquire it as a museum.

"Bottom line at this point, there's nothing definite yet," said Mayor George Rivers.

But Delaware & Hudson Railway Co. has sent the village a proposed agreement of sale with a price tag of $10 for the.2-acre lot and the old brick-built, turreted station on Pratt Street.

"It will be extremely difficult to receive authority to transfer the station property at a nominal consideration," wrote John A. Denison, D&H manager of real estate and industrial development, "however, I will do my best to get it done."

Rivers felt confident enough about that to order execution of preliminary work, such as the survey required to deed the property over.

He, Code Enforcement Officer Bob Racicot and Village Engineer Doug Ferris inspected the place Monday.

"This building can rebound and be beautiful again," Ferris said. "Some structural areas need shoring up, but it's pretty solid."

Sen. Ronald B. Stafford (R-Plattsburgh) has been approached for $100,000 toward that project. Spokesperson Thomas Bergin said the issue will be discussed when the state budget is further along.

At the May session of the newly formed Rouse's Point Historical Society, President Sandy LaBombard announced the promising news about the station to applause and cheers.

That entity, along with the village's Beautification Committee, would work to renovate the place, applying for other grants as funding.

"That's the best news," said Joe Bailey, village resident and former Rouses Point trustee. "That's a start."

He remembers taking the sleeper from the station to Montreal for evenings out — that was the train that carried the Montreal Canadiens hockey team to and from games in the States.

When Rivers was a boy, the building was one of his regular stops.

"It was nice and warm in there in the wintertime," he chuckled, recalling the machine that dispensed Chiclets, two in a box, for a penny.

His enthusiasm for chronicling the village's railroad history comes of such memories.

"I could run a steam engine," he said, thinking back to his mid teens. "The yard crew let me get up there."

In 1992, Melissa McManus — then Town of Champlain historian — attempted to acquire the station for a museum for the entire town, including its villages of Champlain and Rouses Point.

But D&H didn't want to release the building then and later put a price tag of $18,000 on it in response to a Rouses Point inquiry.

Whether D&H's more affordable $10 proposal goes through or not, said Rivers, something has to be done about the station.

He's concerned that the empty building, with its broken windows, is a dangerous lure to youngsters.

"If the village signs the contract, that will facilitate the process," Denison said.

The State Department of Transportation has preferential right of acquisition when the railroad decides to let a property go.

But that entity can release that right or turn it over to the village, Denison said.

"The bureaucracy within the company is what makes (the sale) difficult," he added.

Since becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Railroad several years ago, D&H has consummated one similar deal. In 1993, North Creek Railroad Station was turned over to North Creek Rail Depot Preservation Association for $1.

That building is now a regional museum, a shining example of what Rivers knows can happen to the Rouses Point depot.

"In time," he said, "it will all happen."

Suzanne Moore is a staff reporter for the Press-Republican.



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