Canal Winchester and the Main Street business association moved closer to breathing new life into the village’s historic interurban depot with the receipt of a $25,000 grant from Heritage Ohio.
The grant matched $25,000 already donated by local businesses and residents interested in restoring the station, which was once situated on the Scioto Valley Traction Line’s Columbus-Lancaster route.
"This gives us an additional $25,000 to work with," said Councilman Bruce Jarvis at Canal Winchester Village Council’s June 2 meeting, "because we still have a few additional things to do."
Interurban cars-similar to passenger cars on trains powered by locomotives-ran on a third electrified rail and provided an inexpensive and speedy alternative to other forms of travel. Passengers were the primary patrons of the short-haul interurban system, but the trains also ferried crops and supplies to and from stations like the one still standing behind a row of business buildings on the west side of High Street in downtown Canal Winchester.
The first electric interurban powered by a third rail reached Canal Winchester on July 19, 1904. The service was short-lived, though-two and a half decades-before ceasing operation in 1930, a victim of the explosive growth of the automobile.
Last summer, a group of community volunteers began tearing down walls and ripping off the stucco covering the building’s brick exterior as part of the effort to bring the interurban building back to its former glory as a Canal Winchester landmark.
During the June 2 council meeting, Jeff Siegler, revitalization director for Heritage Ohio, presented the $25,000 check to the village and Main Street Canal Winchester. The grant was the first ever awarded by Heritage Ohio through a new program. The organization is a statewide, not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and assisting people and organizations to revitalize, protect and preserve historic buildings, landscapes, art, artifacts, and landmarks.
"It was a combined effort between the village and Main Street to write the grant," said Bob Garvin, a member of the downtown association, "and it can be used for bricks and mortar. They started working on the grant in early spring, so we heard back pretty quickly about receiving it. It will really come in handy because we’re getting ready to reinforce the walls of the interurban to support the new tile roof."
Other Canal Winchester news
•Council heard the first reading on an ordinance approving and adopting the operating budget for 2009. A public hearing will be held on the proposed tax budget on July 7 at 6:45 p.m. Copies of the budget are available for review at the municipal building, 36 S. High St. during regular business hours.
According to a report filed by Finance Director Nanisa Osborn, the general fund is estimated to be approximately three present less than 2007 due to the current investment environment. Interest on investments is expected to bring in less income.
However, income tax revenue is projected to rise three percent. The proposed budget reflects a three to four percent increase in salaries, one new full time position at the public works complex for an administrative assistant, and a pair of new part-time positions. Capital projects include $100,000 in parks projects, $25,000 for the bike path, a half-dozen street projects, a new vehicle for the street department, downtown benches.
•Public Works Director Matt Peoples said pavement repairs in Winchester Trace are complete and work in Washington Knolls has begun. Next in line is pavement resurfacing in Westchester and Ashbrook.