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Don't skimp on Schenectady's new train station

Don't skimp on Schenectady's new train station

New downtown train station will be a welcome mat for visitors. It can't look cheap.
Don't skimp on Schenectady's new train station
A rendering of the new train station planned for Schenectady.

It might be tempting — given that the only bid to build it is almost $10 million over a proposed $15 million budget — to significantly scale back on the new train station for the city of Schenectady.

But city leaders and state officials should not fall victim to the temptation.

Instead, they should retain as much of the original new design as possible and resubmit the project for a second bidding process.

The underutilized downtown station is about to become a welcome mat to the city, and we don't want the first impression many out-of-town visitors get of Schenectady to remind them of a run-down subway line in Queens.

For starters, the train station is likely to get more patrons — local residents and visitors — because of the doubling of the number of rail lines, from one line to two, running from Schenectady to Albany.

That means many people from Schenectady, Saratoga and surrounding counties who normally take the train to New York City and points south from the Rensselaer station could instead opt to ride out of Schenectady.

The Schenectady stop also has the potential to welcome a new generation of visitors because of the new casino, hotels and other new and coming enhancements.

If we want them to come back again and again, it's important that the train station show that the city is putting its best foot forward.

The new station will replace the embarrassing testament to 1970s urban crapola architecture that currently serves as Schenectady's train station.

In its place, if all goes according to plan, will be a new station that will remind people of the classic Union Station that was closed in 1969.

The new station wouldn't be an exact replica of the 1910 train station, but would include features reminiscent of it, including a historic clock over the archway to the trains, as well as large classic-looking clocks on the sides of the building.

After thoroughly examining the initial bid to understand why the estimate came in so high, officials might have to consider slight modifications to the design or materials.

But in no way should they abandon the grand plans for the station in favor of something cheap and uninviting.

We're better than that now. And we want people to know it.

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