Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dansbury Depot (East Stroudsburg) demolition begins

Following article is from the Pocono Record dated Friday, 7-30-10.

Dansbury Depot demolition begins

But it's not over yet for historic train station, supporters say

By Beth Brelje
Pocono Record Writer
July 30, 2010 12:00 AM

Onlookers gathered Thursday as word spread of the demolition of the historic Dansbury Depot. Occasionally children and teens accompanied by adults stopped to pose for a final photo in front of the East Stroudsburg landmark.

Heavy equipment appeared at the depot Wednesday night, just hours after a county judge dismissed a legal challenge to the razing. Demolition work began Thursday morning.

People watched as a yellow backhoe gouged into walls and crunched away at the dining room roof, which was built in 1980. Workers paused to wrap a chain around a decorative iron archway, gingerly tug it from the ground and place it away from demolition debris.

Even as the demolition was under way, preservationists pleaded for a way to save it.

The depot may not be doomed yet.

Supporters say a plan is in the works to move the 1864-built portion of the depot across the tracks. It will happen only if a funding source can be identified. Answers on that could come today. Part of the building would be placed on a grassy area owned by the borough and possibly used as an office.

Funding won't come from the borough. Council President Roger DeLarco says the entire borough budget is around $850,000, which is close to the amount the developer had mentioned as a possible selling price. That amount does not include restoration.

The former train station was converted into a restaurant and placed on the National Register of Historical Places in the 1980s. It was gutted by fire in October and was too costly to refurbish.

Developer Troy Nauman plans to build a three- or four-story building in the Crystal Street space. It will have commercial space, probably a restaurant, on the ground level and apartments above.

A crowd of about 70 people from East Stroudsburg and surrounding municipalities crammed into the borough council committee work session Thursday with questions about council procedure. They wanted to know how action toward the redevelopment of the Dansbury Depot moved so quickly through the government process without the public being aware of it.

Someone called for borough code enforcement officer John Blick to be removed for signing the demolition permit. The comment got hearty applause.

Council repeatedly explained the depot is private property and they followed proper procedures.

The demolition has stimulated business on Crystal Street. One store is selling "demo dogs" (hot dogs) for $1.25 and reports plenty of takers. Parking was scarce Thursday, and cars cruised down the street with windows open and cameras clicking.