Clark Webster, longtime volunteer with Save the Northfield Depot, stopped by my corner office at the GBM this morning to let me know that the City Council voted last night to sell a chunk of its land on the Q-Block to the group (amount? to be determined). It also voted to cover up to $11,000 in legal and environmental assessment fees.
The Save the Northfield Depot group doesn’t use a blog, Twitter, or Facebook so we don’t have any official details. Hopefully, A) one or more of Northfield’s media empires will have a story posted soon; and B) the Depot group will figure out that have a living, breathing social media presence is critical to raising public awareness and raising money.
Above: two panoramic views of the Q-Block: Left, from 2nd St, looking SE; right, from Hwy 3, looking west
Above: two views of the approximate future location for the old train depot (below).
“Is it a viable business plan?” Mayor Mary Rossing asked rhetorically. “To me we’re going to have to make the case this is a good economic value to the citizens of Northfield.” Her suggestion to send the proposal to the Planning Commission and Economic Development Authority for their input got mixed reviews. Councilor Suzie Nakasian supported the idea, but Councilors Patrick Ganey, Betsey Buckheit and Rhonda Pownell found the move unnecessary…
Dale Finger, who not only owns the Quarterback Club, but a majority of land on the block under consideration, opposes the move. “I believe if the depot was to move there, any future development would have to be focused around the depot, limiting what could happen on my property,” he wrote in an April 5 e-mail to the council. “I also see this property being a gateway to downtown and someday hope a retail development will bring more traffic to the central business district.”
I happened to be driving by Northfield’s train depot yesterday when I noticed a Union Pacific crew had arrived. They were boarding it up, as it has evidently been used lately as a youth hangout called The Shack. The crew said there was no evidence of drug or alcohol use – not even a cigarette butt in sight. Looks like fun to me!
Ross Currier sent out a Tweet yesterday morning that he was "Trying to arrange my schedule so I can attend a gathering of few motivated citizens to discuss the potential of the historic railroad depot." About the same time, I was chatting with Bob Will about it at GBM. Bob indicated that the Northfield Rotary Club was considering it as one of their long-term projects. (continued)