Widgets Magazine
  • City set to acquire, renovate historic Union Station

    A major hurdle has been cleared toward the goal of renovating Union Station at the south end of Scissortail Park.

    The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA) owns the station after using federal grant funds for the purchase. In order to transfer the title to the city, COTPA requested and recently received authorization from the Federal Transit Administration.

    The purchase and renovation will be financed with excess MAPS 3 funds; the budget is $17.2 million.

    MAPS Program Director David Todd told OKCTalk that the city hopes to complete the purchase by the end of the month.

    A 2020 presentation by GSB, an architectural firm based in Oklahoma City, showed the former railroad station converted into an event space and to include a cafe, gift shop and history center among other proposed uses.

    However, the total cost was estimated at $29 million, and thus Todd said the city will make soon decide on how best to maximize the current budget so the structure can be reopened to the public. A phased approach will be used for any remaining work with funding yet to be identified.

    Union Station opened in 1930 and was once a bustling passenger railway station but has been virtually unused for decades, apart from serving as offices for COTPA. As part of the deal with the city, COTPA will remain as a tenant for the next six months.

    Under the GSB plan, the former main passenger waiting room and its soaring, coffered ceilings would be converted into a multipurpose room and used for a variety of events. Most of the original structure and design elements are still intact, including beautiful terrazzo floors throughout much of the space.

    The rear dock area was once used for mail delivery and is envisioned as another multipurpose hall.

    The station is a prominent feature in Scissortail Park and the plan is to use extensive landscaping to create outdoor spaces and blend with the surrounding park.

    The lower section of Scissortail Park is well under construction and will link downtown to the Oklahoma River once complete late this summer.

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