Restoration of Aberdeen's long-dilapidated historic Baltimore & Ohio Railroad train station might finally be moving forward with plans to construct a new foundation for the eventual relocation of the building.
The Historical Society of Harford County, which is spearheading the restoration effort, hopes to move the station back 50 feet from the tracks by March, society director Maryanna Skowronski said last week.
Moving the platform and building, which is required by its owner, CSX Railroad, is the first step on the long road to rebuilding the station as a public building.
"It's going to be moved," Skowronski promised, explaining weather-related delays kept the move from happening by the end of 2013, as originally promised.
"We had hoped to have the foundation constructed by the end of December... but the weather is, unfortunately, an aberration this year," she said. "It's always the weather, the weather, the weather."
Last spring, Aberdeen Mayor Mike Bennett warned the society's leaders that he had limited patience for getting the project done, telling them the city was tired of "this eyesore."
Skowronski said the society will have spent roughly $140,000 on the project to date, with moving the platform, a feasibility study and various other expenses.
Most of that, $100,000, is coming from two Maryland Historical Trust grants, she said.
Donations have also come from some private individuals and groups such as Preservation Maryland.
"We are continuing to raise funds. We are working kind of in concert with the Aberdeen Room and Museum," Skowronski said.
Kinsley Construction is donating materials and Vulcan Materials is donating concrete for the foundation, she said.
"We are in the process of soliciting donations for the cinder blocks," she added.
Wolfe Movers has been contracted to do the move, she said.
Skowronski has no ultimate timeline for when the station might become a restaurant or other public building.
She is definitely optimistic, however, that the building, which has not seen passengers since the 1950s, would eventually get a new life.
"It's a large project and once it's on to its new foundation, then we hope to begin the actual rehabilitation, because we don't want it to sit any longer than it has to," she said.
Skowronski said she knows both city government and residents are unhappy with the station's current appearance, which Bennett called "Disney World's haunted house" in 2013.
"We know neighbors are concerned about appearances and the town has concerns about safety issues," she said.
The station, which is off West Bel Air Avenue in downtown Aberdeen, is a major part of the city's and Harford County's history and would be a big opportunity for the city to have a publicly accessible historic building, Skowronski said.