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PLATFORM dedication

SANTA FE, N.M. — During a multi-pronged celebration that feted the Rail Runner, the Santa Fe Depot’s new train platform and the Railyard’s new(ish) visitors center, it was the bricks that made one of the biggest impressions.

Over two-thirds of the bricks torn up during the platform’s recent renovation were salvaged and re-installed, despite being 103 years old.

“That tells you how well they were made,” proclaimed Richard Czoski, executive director of the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation. Santa Fe Mayor David Coss merely marveled, “I’m just so impressed those bricks are so old.”

Coss, Czoski and others touted the redone platform at a small gathering at the depot on Wednesday morning.

“I think it’s a symbol that we’re moving and we’re going to keep moving as a community and take advantage of every opportunity we have to grow our economy and make our quality of life better for our community,” Coss said.

The platform sits just outside the historic Santa Fe Depot, which houses the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau visitors center. It’s also the last stop on the Rail Runner schedule.

However, what wasn’t in evidence Wednesday morning was the platform’s snow melt system. Nearly two miles of radiant tubing have been installed under the depot, but project officials are still waiting for funding for the boilers and pumps needed to complete the system. They plan to approach the City Council within the next month or two for the money.

City project administrator Bob Siqueiros said the snow melt system’s engineering plans weren’t complete when project managers decided to move forward with a funding request for the renovation and construction.

It may be something of a victory that there’s a platform heating system at all.

The City Council initially turned down SFRCC’s request for a snow melting mechanism – it was thought human crews could take on the job of shoveling snow – but councilors changed their minds after SFRCC paid for and presented design plans.

The city has spent about $250,000 on the renovation and will spend another $95,000 to $130,000 on the boilers and pumps, depending on whom you ask.

But the celebrants on Wednesday were looking ahead to the future.

SFRCC board president Steve Robinson said the restoration of the platform is a first step toward the creation of a multi-modal center at the site that would house amenities like a coffee shop, bike share and restrooms.

It’s part of “the evolution of this whole part of the Railyard,” he said.