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Oklahoma City chugs ahead with plans to revamp Santa Fe Depot

Oklahoma City has secured the key and control to downtown’s Santa Fe Depot, clearing the way for it to be converted into a $28 million transit hub that will serve downtown’s new streetcar system, Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer and a potential new regional passenger rail line.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: February 6, 2014 at 11:00 am •  Published: February 5, 2014

“We haven’t seen any of the agreements yet — we just have hearsay of what they encompass,” Scroggins said. “We are aware of who they are with, and we’ve notified them we are now responsible and will be negotiating with them in the future.”

Scroggins said issues remain with the parking agreements with MidFirst Bank and the state Transportation Department.

“It’s all very unclear,” Scroggins said. “It’s also unclear as to whether there is sufficient money for upkeep. Upon inspections, there are definitely repairs to be made that definitely need to be made.”

Scroggins said parking rates will be in alignment with other city-owned parking, where charges are capped at either $8 or $10 a day. Such arrangements eventually be altered once the transit hub project is started.

When will work start?

Conversion of the 84-year-old depot into a transit center is set to begin early next year. David Todd, coordinator of the city’s MAPS office, said design contract negotiations are underway with TAP Architecture.

The city was awarded a $13.5 million federal grant last year that allows it to pursue its full plan for conversion of the depot into a transit center.

Specific improvements include opening a tunnel in the depot through the BNSF Railway viaduct wall facing the Bricktown Canal to allow for a direct passenger connection to the entertainment district, improved Amtrak boarding platforms, ticketing and baggage areas, a pedestrian plaza extending to E.K. Gaylord, and hastened construction of a streetcar alignment in front of the depot.

The work coincides with construction set to begin later this year on the first phase of the streetcar system, which is set to open by mid-2017.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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