The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Colebrookdale Railroad pitches station for Memorial Park

Plans call opening by next December

By Evan Brandt, ebrandt@21st-centurymedia.com, @PottstownNews on Twitter

Thursday, December 14, 2017

POTTSTOWN >> By this time next year, riders on the Colebrookdale Railroad’s Santa Polar Bear Express could be making a stop at a brand new station in Memorial Park.

Nathaniel Guest, executive director of the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust, presented plans to borough council at the Dec. 6 meeting.

He also presented a request — two requests actually.

First, he asked council to waive land development procedures in order to quicken construction.

Assistant Borough Manager Justin Keller told council that the borough staff has already reviewed the plans and does not think Guest’s request presents any problems.

Guest has a grant to help cover the cost of the station’s construction, but to keep the money, work must begin by March and be completed by December, 2018.

Second, Guest and the Berks County Redevelopment Authority, which owns the rail line, said a “land swap” is needed to build the station.

Although the railroad has enough right-of-way to build the 4,000 square-foot building, some borough land is needed for parking.

In exchange, the railroad would cede to the borough some of its right-of-way along the tracks up near the top of Memorial Park.

This strip of land is vital to the planned trail along Manatawny Creek, which could give pedestrians an alternative to trying to cross Route 100 into the shopping center there, where a pedestrian was killed in March trying to get to his job at Wendy’s, said Keller.

Council members received the proposal with evident support, particularly Ryan Procsal who spoke highly of the design and Monday night, they unanimously approved both requests.

Guest said the tower on the station is more than 100 feet tall and will be visible from Route 100, a graceful addition to Pottstown’s sky line.

“So far, most of the $2 million economic impact has been in Boyertown, because we have a station there,” said Guest.

“Pottstown is my home town. I want Pottstown to share in that economic benefit as well,” he said.