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Renovations bring new life to historical railroad depot

December 22, 2018

BELLEVILLE, Wis. (AP) — The village of Belleville plans to bring new life to a historical railroad depot.

The first phase of restoring the Bellville depot began this month with a $160,000 project to tear off the roof and replace joists and shingles, the Wisconsin State Journal reported .

The village purchased the depot in November for $250,000 from Landmark Service Corp. and plans to spend an additional $600,000 to prepare the site for a possible tenant.

Officials are confident the site’s history and location will draw entrepreneurs looking for a unique location in southern Dane County.

“It’s just one of the coolest buildings in town,” said Rick Francois, head of the village’s Community Development Authority. “Between the history and just the possibilities on that bike corridor, it could be just a huge draw for Belleville.”

The train depot was constructed in 1888 by the Chicago, Madison and Northern Railroad. Passenger rail service to the village concluded more than 50 years ago, and freight service ceased in the 1980s. The depot and surrounding property were ultimately purchased by Union Cooperative and later was owned by Landmark.

Wilson said the goal is to have an operating business in the depot by early 2020.

“The next step is for the CDA to find someone who would want to come in there and open that as a business opportunity,” Wilson said.

A group of University of Wisconsin-Madison doctoral students proposed ideas for the Bellevue depot that include a coffee shop or a brewpub, both of which would draw regional interest.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

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