Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Amtrak revamps Great American Stations site

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Amtrak announced Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, that its Amtrak GreatAmericanStations.com website is now upgraded "with new tools, resources, and information to help local communities discover and develop the economic power of America's train stations."

GreatAmericanStations.com, in place since 2006, "has proven to be a valuable resource to communities contemplating preservation and renovation of their publicly- or privately-owned stations, as well as the construction of new passenger rail or multi-modal facilities and the associated economic and social benefits they offer," Amtrak said in a statement. "GreatAmericanStations.com provides community-based stakeholders step-by-step tools and resources, project ideas, suggested tactics and lessons learned from the station redevelopment experiences of others. "

Based on user feedback, Amtrak reorganized the website for easier navigation, added a section on "Getting Your Project Started," and created a downloadable "Development Checklist." Additional case studies showcasing Great American Stations success stories will be uploaded to the website in the coming months, emphasizing stations as anchors for economic development, catalysts for historic preservation and tourism growth, potential sites for commercial and cultural uses and points of civic pride that reinforce local identity.

The website contains detailed and comprehensive information on more than 500 Amtrak-served stations and their communities. It also offers useful planning guidance to assist local leaders, including: Financial tools to help with renovation efforts, including grant, loan and tax credit opportunities; station planning and signage guidelines, accessibility regulations, and development tools to start station projects; and quarterly e-newsletters, recent station news from across the country,and information on Amtrak Civic Conversation conferences.

Of the more than 500 stations Amtrak serves, other railroads own about 22 %, Amtrak owns 14%, transit agencies and state Departments of Transportation own 12%, and the remainder are held by various parties, including private individuals and redevelopment agencies, Amtrak noted.