Cole­brook­dale Rail­road re­ceives $1.5 mil­lion grant

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Mar­ian Den­nis

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.

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