COLONIAL HEIGHTS — After several years of multijurisdictional deliberation, impact studies, and community input, a property on the Boulevard in Colonial Heights has been chosen as the Federal Rail Administration’s (FRA) preferred site for a new Amtrak Train Station.
Plans for a new station came about several years ago as the existing station in Ettrick – built in 1955 – is considered under federal standards to be too small to handle even its current ridership levels.
The FRA began to consider a number of properties in Colonial Heights, Petersburg, and Ettrick for a new, larger Tri-Cities Multimodal Station, but following a study they conducted in conjunction with the Crater Planning District Commission, a property on the Boulevard in Colonial Heights was chosen to replace the existing Ettrick station.
The study took into consideration a variety of elements including environmental impact – which involved studying the way the train station could affect animal life, the land itself, and more.
According to Colonial Heights city officials, a property in Petersburg was ruled out as they found a train station would impact land with Civil War historical significance. Another property previously considered in Colonial Heights was also deemed unfit after a community of owls were found inhabiting the area.
Also as part of their study, the FRA and Crater Planning District Commission asked Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Prince George, and Dinwiddie County officials to take the three considered locations – Petersburg, Ettrick and Colonial Heights – and rank them in the order where they would like to see the new station be built. While several of the localities chose themselves as the first option, Prince George picked Colonial Heights.
In addition to taking all of the community leaders’ opinions into consideration, the FRA also provided a 30-45 day period in which Tri-City citizens could write in and voice their questions and concerns about the project.
Following their in-depth study, which totals 563 pages, the FRA ultimately decided on Colonial Heights for a new 3,700-square-foot train station. Their preferred site is a property on the Boulevard near the railroad overpass, in the large parking area in front of the Rent-E-Quip business. The project will require the city’s acquisition of some property there, because it’s private land and not currently city-owned property.