Monday, April 13, 2009

Ypsilanti Freighthouse to be Restored

Historic Building Will be Used as Community Center, Café, Farmers Market

Governor Granholm visited Ypsilanti last week to announce that the historic Ypsilanti railroad freighthouse in Depot Town will be restored for use as a farmer’s market, café, community center and historic education center. The Governor presented the city with a check for $500,000 in Federal economic stimulus money, which will be used to repair the freighthouse building, which was built in 1878.

This investment into the city of Ypsilanti will create a destination location with the potential to draw visitors from surrounding areas. Only a short drive, or bike ride from your Ypsilanti or Superior Township home the restored freighthouse will be a great place to stop on a Saturday for a coffee and pastry or to purchase some locally grown produce.

There have been recent discussions in Michigan’s Legislature regarding the possibility of a commuter rail line from Ann Arbor to Detroit. Ypsilanti is proposed as being one of the stops along the route, and the freighthouse could potentially play a role in the proposed project.

At the check presentation Friday, Governor Granholm said, “This project is going to be a tremendous asset to Ypsilanti residents. We look forward to the transformation of this transportation icon of the past into a much-needed resource for the community.”

“The 6,500-foot facility is listed on the Michigan State Register of Historic Sites and is located in Depot Town within the city's local historic district. The city hopes to reopen the freighthouse as a community facility that would promote cultural tourism and serve as a reminder of the history of railroad activity and early commerce in the area. Owned by the city, it is operated under the terms of a management contract by the Friends of the Ypsilanti Freighthouse, a 501C (3) organization. To repurpose the 1878 building, the city will make major structural improvements to the foundation, floor, walls, pilasters, roof and interior mechanical systems (plumbing, electrical, HVAC). The work will begin this fall.”

Restoring the freighthouse to its former beauty will add to Ypsilanti’s historic charm. The city’s downtown district and Depot Town are already popular destinations for dining and shopping. The railroad freighthouse will be another charming historic site to enjoy in this city full of history and character.

Image courtesy Flickr: TopTechWriter.’US

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