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Alternative depot uses worth a look

• Feb 27, 2017 at 2:00 PM

The old train depot at the end of Washington Avenue on Harbor Drive has been a fixture on Grand Haven’s waterfront for nearly 150 years.

The brick building, which began operation in 1870, once served as a center for commerce and transportation coming in and out of Grand Haven. Nearly 100 years later, in 1972, the depot opened its doors as a museum, and more recently showcases the area’s transportation and maritime heritage.

Now, nearly 45 years since the facility’s conversion to a museum, it might be time for another change at the historic site.

With the city preparing to write a new chapter for Waterfront Stadium later this year, now seems like an opportune time to reflect on the depot facility’s current and future uses.

That’s why we applaud the city for hosting a visioning session with elected officials and representatives from the Tri-Cities Historical Museum to generate ideas for the depot’s future. While the easy choice may be to leave the depot as it is, the prime location on Grand Haven’s waterfront means other uses should at the very least be given a consideration.

Given the location, the depot seems like it would be the perfect facility for community events and rentals — a new revenue stream for the city — and any modifications or additions to the building could serve to enhance the soon-to-be-renovated Waterfront Stadium, whether it be ticketing and concession booths, storage and green room space, or new areas for stadium event viewing.

Any potential change, however, should be made with the utmost care and consideration given to the depot’s heritage. Let’s hope that the city and its architects can find a way to tastefully tie the depot and any additions in with the new stadium while retaining its historic charm.

The community has made it known how much the depot means to them over the years — from a petition drive in the 1960s urging the city to save its newly acquired depot from the wrecking ball, to renovation and preservation efforts funded by the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in the years that have followed.

Our hope is that the end result is something everyone in our community can be proud of.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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