Watertown's ambitious vision for rail

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

From an article by Barry Adams in the Wisconsin State Journal:

WATERTOWN -- There is spirited debate over where to put a train station in Madison.

But about 40 miles east, Watertown officials know exactly where they want passengers to board and disembark and believe a three-acre site on the Rock River could be a catalyst for redevelopment.

If the city can secure enough funding, a soon-to-be-closed Pick 'n Save grocery store would be torn down to make room for a $33 million development that includes a new train station.

The project, along 750 feet of the Canadian Pacific rail line, would include a two-story parking structure, an annex with meeting space and shops, and bike and walking paths that would link the train station with the downtown, just to the north.

Private housing and retail development nearby could add millions of dollars in tax base, according to city officials.

"I believe we'll be able to get a train station, but I don't want it to be just a train station that doesn't do anything for the rest of the community, as far as development," said Mayor Ron Krueger.

"We are pulling out the stops and using our contacts at the state to let them know how important this site is."