The Lorain County Commissioners acquired the 1925 New York Central Railroad Station in July 2009 on behalf of Lorain County Transit. The intended purpose was to renovate the property to be used as a County Transportation Center. The project was expanded in 2002 with the purchase of the parking lot directly to the east of the building.
Over the past several years, the Lorain County Board of Commissioners have been working with Amtrak, The Norfolk Southern Railroad (NS), the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on the concept of bringing Amtrak rail services to the historic Lorain County Transportation & Community Center facility at 40 East Avenue in Elyria, Ohio.
By 2010 the facility renovations were completed and is currently used as a Community Center, with numerous rooms and spaces, including the original grand waiting room, available to rent out for functions. The building also accommodates the County offices of Children and Family Council. The site is used as a Lorain County Transit and Greyhound Bus transfer point.
In April 2014, the Commissioners entered into an agreement with Richard L. Bowen & Associates, Inc., a design & engineering firm, to examine the existing conditions and to make recommendations on how best to construct a new Amtrak station at this location. In December 2014, Bowen & Associates, Inc. presented the Lorain County Transportation Passenger Station Phase I - Planning Study to the Lorain County Board of Commissioners.
In January 2015, the Lorain County Commissioners authorized the next phase of engineering to allow for adding a passenger rail stop to the newly renovated Lorain County Transportation & Community Center. The passenger rail platforms and pedestrian bridge is the final phase of this capital improvement and is estimated to cost between $9 and $10 million. This improvement project will consist of building new ADA-complaint rail platforms and canopies to service both eastbound and westbound passenger trains. A newly constructed pedestrian bridge will span the existing tracks owned by Norfolk Southern.
Relocation of Amtrak services to the Lorain County Transportation & Community Center will restore the facility's original use as a train station and provide a modern, convenient and comfortable station for Amtrak passengers arriving and departing in Elyria.
The County has partnered with Federal, State and Local agencies in order to obtain funding for this project. Sufficient funds are available to proceed with preparing plans and specifications for bidding of the new platforms and pedestrian bridge. Additional funds are needed to proceed with construction. Once construction work begins, our area should experience an economic bounce of nearly $25 million as contractor's purchase materials and supplies from many area vendors. This project will proudly pay a living wage to workers through the mandated use of Davis-Bacon wage rates. Contributions to the local bounce will be realized as workers purchase personal merchandise, goods and services locally.
Long term this project will enhance existing rail service increasing connectivity with major metro areas throughout the country including Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston and New York, increasing the quality of service for our residents and visitors.