CALLICOON, NY — The Callicoon Business Association (CBA) has signed a long-term lease with the Central New York Railroad Corporation for the historic 1896 railroad depot building and grounds in the center of the hamlet. It's soon to become an Upper Delaware visitors center.
CALLICOON, NY — The Callicoon Business Association (CBA) has signed a long-term lease with the Central New York Railroad Corporation for the historic 1896 railroad depot building and grounds in the center of the hamlet. The agreement gives the organization the site control needed to move ahead with grant-funded improvements to stabilize the structure and outfit it for public use.
"The CBA members are elated the depot lease is now signed. We're eager to undertake the station's restoration and anticipate suggestions and input from the public. The revitalization of the station will benefit and invigorate the entire community for many years to come,” said Patti Moorhead, current president of the CBA.
The initial focus of the work will be the development of a visitor center and headquarters for the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (UDSB), which encompasses the NY State Route 97 corridor from Port Jervis to Hancock. The group’s mission is to highlight and enhance the splendor of the highway, with its spectacular scenic vistas, vibrant communities, and access to the Delaware River and its resources.
Further project phases, to be guided by a process of community outreach and public input, will continue the building’s adaptive reuse to host a variety of community functions such as exhibits, meetings, events, performances, workshops, classes, small-business support, and private events. Proposed plans for the exterior include landscaping and grading to create an attractive “town commons” area with outdoor seating, and improvements to the stage that has been used during seasonal festivals. Parking needs will be addressed both on site and by means of a comprehensive, hamlet-wide parking study that has been undertaken in cooperation with the Town of Delaware.
The Callicoon Depot Project has been spearheaded by a group of local volunteers working as a committee of the Callicoon Business Association. An independent nonprofit organization, Callicoon Depot Inc., is being established with the sole mission of completing the depot’s restoration and sustaining its long-term operations, maintenance and programming.
Work to secure the lease began when the railroad ceased using the building for storage several years ago. Community members came together with the aim of turning a vacated historic site falling into disrepair into a welcoming indoor and outdoor public space that will enrich the community. During that time they’ve drafted a business plan to address the costs of rehabilitating and operating the building over time and to identify potential sources of funding and revenue. They’ve secured roughly $450,000 in grants and donations and engaged a variety of partners in discussions about using and activating the space (for example, periodically hosting a mobile unit of the Department of Motor Vehicles). The most significant partner in the project is the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, which has assigned a $250,000 NYS grant to the UDSB for the creation of a visitor center to serve Byway communities.
UDSB chair Johnny Pizzolato said, “The visitor center has had many incarnations with twists and turns, much like the byway we promote. We are thrilled to see our visitor center based in Callicoon, one of the most idyllic of our river communities in Sullivan County—and one that is right in the middle of Upper Delaware Scenic Byway.”
To collect public input on the project, open houses are being planned for early spring. Volunteers will be on hand to walk people through the building, and to present and discuss concepts for its renovation and future use. Participants will be encouraged to contribute their own ideas and suggestions and, when possible, to share their knowledge and reminiscences of the train station when it was in active use through the 1960s. Masks will be required and social distancing will be observed. For more information on these events and the project generally, and to offer your own suggestions, visit callicoondepot.org, email email@example.com and follow the project on Instagram @callicoondepot.