Members of the Windsor Locks Preservation Association on Tuesday told the board of selectmen Tuesday that frustrated by lack of progress with saving the town’s historic train station the organization has dissolved.
In a letter he presented to the selectmen, the association’s attorney Edward G. McAnaney said the organization considered many factors but its chief reason for dissolving was the town’s unwillingness to provide a letter to Amtrak declining the town’s interest in the station.
McAnaney said the association still wants the station restored and is willing to help the town in the effort. Members will provide the reports and assessments the organization has gathered to the town, he added. The association was formed in 2004 to restore the train station which has sat in disrepair for years.
Town officials said it’s not that they don’t support the group’s efforts but proposed wording in the letter would make it difficult for Windsor Locks to pursue having the current train platform moved to the downtown area. The letter refers to the historic building and the site.
Town Attorney Scott Chadwick said the word “site” is the problem. Because that implies the land around the historic station and Amtrak doesn’t want the two to overlap, he said.
“They asked for a letter we cannot give,” Chadwick said.
Patrick McMahon, the town’s economic development consultant, said the town wants to move the train platform, which is further south on Route 159, to the downtown area because it fits a vision of improving that area. Having the train platform there would would allow employees of business such Ahlstrom better commuting options as well as put more people in that area for other businesses.
McMahon said in its efforts the town has been dealing with Amtrak and the state Department of Transportation, and the requirements of both entities.
“There’s a vision,” McMahon said. “If we don’t move the train station back to the center, we won’t have that catalyst.”
Barbara Schley, co-founder of the association, said the members don’t care about the property, only saving the building.
Schley said she and members of the organization feel disappointed that they had to make the decision to dissolve. The organization accomplished a lot but feels it can’t do anymore.
“We are ending this with eight of 10 approvals from Amtrak,” Schley said.
McMahon said the town would be happy to accept any studies and assessments the association has in its possession.
First Selectman Steven N. Wawruck Jr. said each and every time the board of selectmen has said it will work with the association in its the efforts to save and restore the station. Wawruck said he thought the process was moving along and had no inkling until the association was dissolving until he started getting calls on Monday.
Wawruck said he and other town officials recently met with Amtrak and has been waiting for responses from that agency.
He and other town officials also met with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Monday andone of topics they discussed was moving the current train platform to the center of town, Wawruck said.