OKLAHOMA CITY — Leaders in Oklahoma City give their stamp of approval to purchase an iconic building downtown as part of the plans for MAP3. This week the city council gave the OK to buy the Santa Fe Train Station located along E. K. Gaylord between Reno and Sheridan.
The city has $10 million set aside to purchase and rehab the train station.
The purchase will be a cornerstone of the city’s soon-to-be-built downtown street car system.
Right now, thousands of people routinely walk past it.
Twice a day Amtrak passengers pass through traveling to Texas.
Otherwise, the Santa Fe station sits mostly empty.
That will soon change.
“It’s a huge milestone to kick off all the MAPS projects,” light rail expert Jeff Bezdek said.
The city’s goal is to use the Santa Fe station as a hub for the $130 million downtown street car system.
“We couldn’t plan for a better site,” Bezdek said.
Bezdek says while the outside of the station needs some cleaning and repair, the fact that it sits in the shadows of downtown, overlooking Bricktown, is ideal.
“Santa Fe is sandwiched perfectly between the business district and Bricktown,” Bezdek said.
“We’re going to be looking at enhancing that site,” MAPS3 project coordinator Eric Wenger said.
Wenger says the building may also one day improve rail service from all over the metro.
“Long range plans for the hub might include high speed rail. That’s decades in the future,” Wenger said.
“We’re getting a triple bypass for downtown Oklahoma City,” Jim Brewer said, more than a decade ago.
The late Jim Brewer, once known as the mayor of Bricktown, first bought and rehabbed the Santa Fe station in the late 1990s.
The city’s purchase may finally realize his dreams of making the building a centerpiece in downtown.
Right now, a company run by Brewer’s son owns the Santa Fe station.
The younger Brewer has said in the past he’s on board with selling the station to the city, but a price has not yet been set.