Colebrookdale Railroad receives $1.5 million grant
BOYERTOWN >> The Colebrookdale Railroad has a lot to celebrate lately.
That’s why on Friday state officials along with community volunteers and residents celebrated in style after the Colebrookdale Railroad received $1.5 million in grant money to continue to expand its station.
“We are going to reinvigorate the Colebrookdale Railroad and help it reinvigorate the area here for society and for economic growth,” said state Sen. Bob Mensch. “Railroads are still playing a very large part in our country today, particularly here in Boyertown over to Pottstown.”
Mensch announced the state grant, which will help pay for a brand new Welcome Center at the rail yard, during a short ceremony held on the platform of the train station.
Mensch was joined by State Rep. David Maloney, Boyertown Mayor Marianne Deery, Berks County Commissioners’ Chairman Christian Leinbach, and Nathaniel Guest, executive director of the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust.
The funds awarded to the railroad are made available through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.
The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects, according to the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget.
“The site at which we are now gathered was once the heart of the community. The loss of the train service and the station that was located here were part of the major shift in the regional economy and way of life in the 20th century that hit Boyertown hard,” said Deery. “For us, this lot empty for years, represented one of our greatest losses ... Thanks to the hard work of Nathaniel and a score of volunteers we celebrate the Colebrookdale success story.”
The Jacobean-Revival building that the grant money will help to build, will enable the railroad to safely board passengers, attend to their needs, and direct them to the community.
The welcome center will also provide a place for organizations to meet and hold community events. The facility will connect rail, pedestrian, automobile, and bicycle modes of transportation, with an emphasis on getting people out of their cars to explore the town on foot and on bike.
Following the announcement, attendees were invited to board the train where they enjoyed refreshments and relaxes on a ride to Pottstown.
“We are grateful to Senator Mensch and our other elected officials for helping to make this regional amenity a reality,” said Guest. “Their forward-thinking leadership is creating a stronger and more sustainable economy than we’ve seen in many years. I applaud them for working with us using Pennsylvania’s unique historic resources like the Colebrookdale Railroad to create jobs and secure investment in our communities.”
Community members gathered on the platform at the Colebrookdale Railroad Station in Boyertown to celebrate the announcement of a $1.5 million grant to expand the station.
State Sen. Bob Mensch (right) hands Nathaniel Guest, executive director of the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust, a letter announcing $1.5 million in grant money for the expansion of the Colebrookdale Railroad Station.
Boyertown Mayor Marianne Deery speaks to guests about the historic significance of the Colebrookdale Railroad at Friday’s ceremony.
State Sen. Bob Mensch, R-24th Dist., who represents part of eastern Berks County, announces the newly-awarded grant to the Colebrookdale Railroad to expand the station.