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A weekly public affairs program in which Tri States Public Radio interviews newsmakers from around the region.

Friends of the Burlington Depot

Jason Parrott’s guest for this week’s program was Don Traman of Burlington.  Traman is the new Chairman of the volunteer organization, Friends of the Burlington Depot.

The organization was reestablished about one year ago.  It advocates for the mixed-use redevelopment of the roughly 70-year-old building along Main Street.

Traman says the depot is very sturdy, but the interior has deteriorated due to neglect as Amtrak and the city only use small portions of the building.

He has high expectations for the depot.

“If we had our druthers, we would have (the restaurant) re-open and (give it) catering privileges for the ‘Great Room,’” said Traman.  “(We would) have the ‘Great Room’ as a civic center and waiting room and have an area for Amtrak.  It would be nice to have a museum in it… and the 2nd floor would make a tremendous office area.”

Traman says before any redevelopment can occur, flooding concerns must be addressed.

“The city, as owner (of the depot), has to approve and the city, as owner, would probably be responsible for handling a flood episode.  The city is very concerned about how much time it would take and what equipment would be needed, so our engineer and the city have their heads together to try to come up with a plan.  That is our first step.”

Traman expects the Friends of the Burlington Depot to be involved in the fundraising process, especially with the group seeking non-profit status.

He says there is also an effort underway to develop a greeter program for Amtrak, which means many volunteers will be needed.

Traman says Friends of the Burlington Depot meets once a month.  Annual membership costs $15.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.