There are a lot of reasons to get excited about the Lansing Board of Water and Light’s
new cogeneration facility being built in REO Town, from jobs to the new development and all the economic implications the $182 million project could have on the area. One small part of the project that is about to begin, however, serves as another reason for residents of REO Town
to get excited: the restoration of a historic, 108-year-old railroad depot.
“The public is equally or more excited about restoring the depot,” says BWL’s Mark Nixon. “A sitting president, Gerald Ford, visited there. Ransom E. Olds had his Reo Truck Co. right next to the depot.”
The $2.5 million restoration will serve as a public meeting place for the BWL board of commissioners.
“Additionally, we plan to make it available to neighborhood groups in the REO Town area,” says Nixon.
The building operated as a depot until the 1970s, after which it became a restaurant for some time. It has now been abandoned for several years, but is on both the U.S. and Michigan Register of Historic Sites.
Both the interior and exterior will be renovated in accordance with historical preservation guidelines. Exterior renovations should be completed by January 2012. Interior restoration will continue through 2012 and into 2013. During construction, the depot will serve as construction offices.