Danville train depot plan kaput

Published 9:05 am Thursday, July 20, 2017

File photo by Ben Kleppinger
A train passes by the train depot and lever tower along Harding Street in Danville’s historic warehouse district on March 22.

The idea to turn Danville’s historic train depot in a restaurant, museum or other tourist attraction won’t be happening for now.

Asked Wednesday about the city’s discussions on the depot building with owner Norfolk Southern, Danville Mayor Mike Perros said there was “a discussion,” but “the short answer on that is that building is in use.”

“We just said, ‘fine, I understand, just please make a note that we value the structure and we would certainly like the opportunity to do something else with it should you choose to abandon it,’” Perros said.

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The Architectural Heritage Board began discussing in March the possibility of turning the train depot in Danville’s historic warehouse district, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, into a museum and café that could attract tourism dollars to the area.

At that time, Danville City Manager Ron Scott informed the board there had been prior attempts to obtain the depot building, but those were unsuccessful.

The city anticipated concerns over liability being the biggest obstacle to obtaining the depot, since the building stands yards from a still-active rail line. But Scott said it was possible a plan could be worked out that would indemnify Norfolk Southern from liability.

Perros commented on the city’s failure to reach a deal with Norfolk Southern at the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership’s board meeting Wednesday morning.