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Town will have train station

It may not be all original, but Pulaski will once again have a train station.
Pulaski Town Manager John Hawley said the town’s insurance company has agreed to cover 100 percent of the replacement cost of the train station, so preliminary work is underway.
Under its emergency powers, Hawley said, the town issued a stabilization and demolition contract to Consolidated Construction Services Inc. of Roanoke this week. Employees of the company are now on site completing evaluations, and their work is expected to take about three weeks.
The Roanoke company’s primary concern will be bracing remaining walls to keep them from being damaged.
Hawley said the town accepted quotes from three companies that approached the town about doing the stabilization and demolition work at the station. However, there was no requirement that bids be taken, given the emergency situation.
Once the walls are stabilized and any other urgent needs are addressed the bidding process will have to be reinstated.
Under the terms of the insurance coverage, the train station must be rebuilt “as it was,” Hawley told the town council. He indicated some changes may be possible on the interior, but the exterior must be the same, or as close as possible.
He said the town was told to keep the building as close as possible to the historic structure “within reason.”
Mayor Jeff Worrell said he is “impressed” that the town already has contracted work on the site “to start the road to recovery” just three weeks after the fire.
Given the fact the building must be reconstructed as close as possible to the prior building, Worrell suggested the town proceed with building an annex, to house the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Museum, on property adjacent to the Maple Shade Shopping Center rather than try to construct something near or attached to the train station.
Hawley said earlier that the town doesn’t own enough property around the train station to accommodate a separate museum.
Councilman Dave Clark agreed the town needs to proceed with the annex plans approved a few months back. He cited the time sensitivity of involving items to be displayed in the annex.
He was referring to Dr. Milton Brockmeyer’s train set, which includes a replica of the downtown area. Paperwork already has been completed that will allow the train set to be donated or loaned to the town.
Virginia Department of Transportation also had indicated intentions of withdrawing $600,000 in grant funds from the project if the town did not proceed with the project by the end of September.
Everyone agreed they didn’t want to have to wait for action from VDOT or Norfolk Southern to proceed with a museum near the train station.
Worrell commented that it took 14 years to complete the New River Trail Extension.
“Even if (the annex) could be (built at the train station), I think a large, modern building would detract from” the historic nature of the train station, said Councilman Morgan Welker.
“Even if we could change the train station, I don’t think we’d want to,” Worrell said. “It’s been that way 120 years.”
However, the mayor said he would like to see the town pursue purchasing additional property around the station to be used for other tourism purposes.
Councilman Joel Burchett said he wouldn’t have been opposed to consideration of some type of two-story train station to accommodate the museum, but that isn’t feasible now.
There was some discussion of leaving some vaulted ceilings in the station when it is rebuilt.
Hawley said they have discovered that there are beam rafters that are set in the stone walls, but they had been concealed by the ceiling structure before the fire.

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Town will have train station

It may not be all original, but Pulaski will once again have a train station.
Pulaski Town Manager John Hawley said the town’s insurance company has agreed to cover 100 percent of the replacement cost of the train station, so preliminary work is underway.
Under its emergency powers, Hawley said, the town issued a stabilization and demolition contract to Consolidated Construction Services Inc. of Roanoke this week. Employees of the company are now on site completing evaluations, and their work is expected to take about three weeks.
The Roanoke company’s primary concern will be bracing remaining walls to keep them from being damaged.
Hawley said the town accepted quotes from three companies that approached the town about doing the stabilization and demolition work at the station. However, there was no requirement that bids be taken, given the emergency situation.
Once the walls are stabilized and any other urgent needs are addressed the bidding process will have to be reinstated.
Under the terms of the insurance coverage, the train station must be rebuilt “as it was,” Hawley told the town council. He indicated some changes may be possible on the interior, but the exterior must be the same, or as close as possible.
He said the town was told to keep the building as close as possible to the historic structure “within reason.”
Mayor Jeff Worrell said he is “impressed” that the town already has contracted work on the site “to start the road to recovery” just three weeks after the fire.
Given the fact the building must be reconstructed as close as possible to the prior building, Worrell suggested the town proceed with building an annex, to house the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Museum, on property adjacent to the Maple Shade Shopping Center rather than try to construct something near or attached to the train station.
Hawley said earlier that the town doesn’t own enough property around the train station to accommodate a separate museum.
Councilman Dave Clark agreed the town needs to proceed with the annex plans approved a few months back. He cited the time sensitivity of involving items to be displayed in the annex.
He was referring to Dr. Milton Brockmeyer’s train set, which includes a replica of the downtown area. Paperwork already has been completed that will allow the train set to be donated or loaned to the town.
Virginia Department of Transportation also had indicated intentions of withdrawing $600,000 in grant funds from the project if the town did not proceed with the project by the end of September.
Everyone agreed they didn’t want to have to wait for action from VDOT or Norfolk Southern to proceed with a museum near the train station.
Worrell commented that it took 14 years to complete the New River Trail Extension.
“Even if (the annex) could be (built at the train station), I think a large, modern building would detract from” the historic nature of the train station, said Councilman Morgan Welker.
“Even if we could change the train station, I don’t think we’d want to,” Worrell said. “It’s been that way 120 years.”
However, the mayor said he would like to see the town pursue purchasing additional property around the station to be used for other tourism purposes.
Councilman Joel Burchett said he wouldn’t have been opposed to consideration of some type of two-story train station to accommodate the museum, but that isn’t feasible now.
There was some discussion of leaving some vaulted ceilings in the station when it is rebuilt.
Hawley said they have discovered that there are beam rafters that are set in the stone walls, but they had been concealed by the ceiling structure before the fire.

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