City of Cleveland still on track to rehab, relocate railroad depot

The Santa Fe railroad depot, located on Manthey Street, will soon be relocated to a property on Washington Ave.

The old Santa Fe railroad depot that once stood at the intersection of Junction and Vine streets in Cleveland may soon be relocated to a plot of City-owned land at the Cleveland Civic Center.

For many years, the depot has been located on Manthey Street near City Glass, and until recently was owned by Bobby Howell. Late last year, the City purchased the depot for $40,000 and began working on plans to relocate and restore it for future generations to enjoy.

At the Tuesday, June 15, Cleveland City Council meeting, Council took the next step by agreeing to solicit a request for quotes from interested engineering firms.

“The firm will engineer the design and layout of the lot and provide a rehabilitation plan for the depot prior to it being moved from its current location,” explained City Manager Bobby Pennington.

Funds for this step of the project will come from hotel occupancy taxes. These taxes are collected on overnight accommodations in local hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, homes, condos and apartments that are rented on a daily rate of $15 or more. HOT funds must be spent promoting tourism, conventions and the hotel industry.

Pennington told Bluebonnet News that bond money may be used to restore the depot, which could then be rented out for parties, clubs and gatherings.

“There are going to be detractors who will say, ‘Why did the City spend money on that?’ But the project will pay for itself with community rentals. We are going to also look for supporters of this project,” he said.

The back side of the Santa Fe Railroad depot
In this 1982 photo taken by Moon Young, the Santa Fe Railroad Depot is seen at its original location where the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railway intersected. The Santa Fe line ran east to west and the Southern Pacific Line ran north to south. This site was known by locals as “the junction.”

Council also approved $1 million in street repairs that will be funded by bond proceeds. In developing a list of streets for the project, Pennington said Council and City staff prioritized the streets using three variables – traffic, condition of the street and citywide inclusion.

“We wanted to spread the love. This project is supported by tax dollars, so we want to be sure it goes to all four corners of the city and not just one area,” he said.

Most of the proposed streets will receive an asphalt overlay while others may need additional repairs to the infrastructure before paving.

“We went out and looked at the streets and know that some will need water and sewer repairs before the streets are fixed,” said Mayor Richard Boyett.

Streets receiving a simple overlay will not require engineering services in advance; however, the 3-4 streets that appear most in need of advance repairs to water and sewer may need engineering.

The proposed streets are Jefferson, River, Shell, Dunnam, S. Travis, Mayo, Ross, Bardash, Love, Old Coldspring Road, W. Boothe, Cooke, Ramey, Linia Alfred, Kinney, Lamar, 4th, Rogers, Elizabeth and Angel. The estimated cost of streets is based on $1.62 per square foot for overlay, with Shell and Jefferson estimated at $5 per square foot for milling and rebasing.

Council also approved an engineering bid from Randall Scott Architects, Inc., based in Richardson, Texas, for a new police evidence facility that will be built next to Cleveland Police Department on Peach Ave., and awarded a bid to BRW Architects for engineering and design of a new pavilion at Stancil Park.

The description on the agenda for the Stancil Park project states: “The City of Cleveland is seeking to contract with a qualified Engineering/ Architectural/Surveying Firm to prepare all preliminary and final design plans and specifications, and to conduct all necessary interim and final inspections for the building of an 40 x 60 open, 3-sided pavilion with ADA family restroom plus two additional restrooms, small kitchen with roll up window and ledge for serving food with a mezzanine storage area with a concrete slab under the open air pavilion.”

The City has earmarked $300,000 for the pavilion project, which will come from hotel occupancy taxes.

In other business, Council:

  • Agreed to contract with Public Management, Inc., for a fee not to exceed $70,000, to handle documentation related to the America Rescues fund.
  • Awarded a bid to Strand Engineering for engineering and design of a water tower project at the new location of Northside Elementary on FM 2025. The City is hopeful that the project will be funded by federal grant money. As the project is critical and the water tower will be needed when the new school comes online, the City had to keep moving forward with its plans.
  • Selected Councilman James Franklin to be the mayor pro tem. He will be called to step into the role of mayor when Mayor Boyett is unavailable.
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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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