Callicoon Depot and Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Visitor Center
The Callicoon Business Association (CBA) has signed a long-term lease with the Central New York Railroad Corporation for the historic 1896 railroad depot building and grounds in the center of the hamlet. The agreement gives the organization the site control needed to move ahead with grant-funded improvements to stabilize the structure and outfit it for public use.
"The CBA members are elated the Depot lease is now signed," said Patti Moorhead, CBA president. "We're eager to undertake the station's restoration, and anticipate suggestions and input from the public. The revitalization of the station will benefit and invigorate the entire community for many years to come."
The initial focus of the work will be development of a visitor center and headquarters for the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (UDSB), which encompasses the New York State Route 97 corridor from Port Jervis to Hancock.
Further project phases, to be guided by a process of community outreach and public input, will continue the building's adaptive reuse to host a variety of community functions such as exhibits, meetings, events, performances, workshops, classes, small-business support, and private events.
Proposed plans for the Callicoon Depot exterior include landscaping and grading to create an attractice "town commons" area with outdoor seating, and improvements to the stage that has been used during seasonal festivals.
Parking needs will be addressed both on site and by means of a comprehensive, hamlet-wide parking study that has been undertaken in cooperation with the Town of Delaware.
Work to secure the lease began when the railroad ceased using the building for storage several years ago. Community members came together with the aim of turning a vacated historic site falling into disrepair into a welcoming indoor and outdoor public space that will enrich the community.
During that time they've drafted a business plan to address the costs of rehabilitating and operating the building over time, and to identify potential sources of funding and revenue. They've secured roughly $450,000 in grants and donations, and engaged a variety of partners in discussions about using and activating the space.
The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. (UDSB) has assigned a $250,000 NYS grant to create a visitor center to serve the byway communities.
UDSB Chairperson Johnny Pizzolato notes, "The visitor center has had many incarnations with twists and turns, much like the byway we promote. We are thrilled to see our visitor center based in Callicoon, one of the most idyllic of our river communities in Sullivan County - and one that is right in the middle of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway."
The public is encouraged to contribute ideas and suggestions for the Depot, as well as sharing their knowledge and reminiscences of the train station when it was in active use for passenger service through the 1960s.