Platform length discussions slow down Ft. Madison depot renovations

History is getting a new lease on life in Fort Madison.

The old Santa Fe train depot near

Riverview Park

has been under renovation for several years.

Installing a major piece of that project has hit a temporary roadblock.

But the Mayor has his fingers crossed that there may be a solution to the problem soon.

The late mayor of Fort Madison Steve Ireland

worked for many years to bring new life to the old

Santa Fe railroad depot


And despite some challenges he expressed to KHQA in 2009 his confidence in the completion of the project.

"Things are rolling, they are moving. I'm pretty excited about getting the project moving and I'll most certainly be excited when it's completed," Ireland said.

Since his death in 2012 the responsibility to complete that dream has fallen to the city's new mayor Brad Randolph.

One of the newest challenges to the project has to do with the installation of a new platform at the depot and the different requirements needed by the parties involved.

"We were planning on a 500 foot platform. That would cover the entire length of the actual depot and the renovated portion. But the FRA, the Federal Rail Administration would like in conjunction with the ADA, would like the platform to be the length of the train, which basically doubles the length that we need, doubles the length we are requesting, which pushes it up to about 12 hundred feet. Which is you know, a lot of platform," Randolph said.

After much discussion on both sides, a possible solution has been reached.

"We're hoping that they'll buy a thousand feet which is less than what they originally wanted and more than what we had planned for," he said.

That will double the projected 740 thousand dollar cost for the original 500 foot platform.

The city refers to the depot as the Steve Ireland Memorial Depot.

Mayor Randolph considers it his personal mission to complete this project which meant so much to Mayor Ireland.

"Steve's passion I think became the depot. And you know Steve appointed me as the Pro Tem a couple of years ago. And then with his death I think that Steve is counting on me to make sure I bring that project home and that's what I plan on doing," Randolph said.

Mayor Randolph says the new numbers will be put into a plan that will be submitted to the FRA.

If that plan is accepted, the city will take bids on the project in the next few months with hopes that construction will start later this year.