Thursday, January 28, 2010
Realizing the Old Greyhound Bus Station's Potential
One of Evansville's downtown treasures is its nostalgic Old Greyhound Bus Station located across from the Old Post Office on the corner or Third and Sycamore. Currently, the building has fallen into disrepair and there is no sign of hope. Luckily, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places list so there is no fear of immediate demolition. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case for the historic Skora building located to the south of the bus station that was razed just a few years ago. I wish I would have had the opportunity to fight to preserve the Skora building but it's too late for that so now we can only look to the positives out of the situation. Two positive things that have come from not just the razing of the Skora building but from the whole non-developed situation around the rest of the site is 1. A farmers market has blossomed on the old Skora building site and 2. There is now plenty of room for a mega development project. So what should become of the Old Greyhound Bus Station and the land surrounding it.
In my previous posts, I have called for the need for a windmill monument, a single high-rise public high school, and a high speed rail station in downtown Evansville. I believe this location could serve any of these three proposals well. However, I firmly believe that the high-rise public high school should be placed next to the public library with some of the civic centers parking lot because its already city owned land, it already has access to library resources, it is farther away from the entertainment district which would eleviate traffic woes, and eventually it would be next to a government services park that would provide for a great outdoors relaxation area for the school. For the windmill monument, I believe it should be placed on the riverfront to the East of the museum where it can harnass the wind coming off the river, serve as a welcome monument to those entering the city, and have plenty of room to grow to the east assuming Sunset Park is properly relocated.
That leaves the high speed rail station as one of my preferred ideas for the site. I will say, I prefer that the Old L & N station be rebuilt on the land between the Lloyd Expressway and Mulzer Stone but I don't see that happening and it would probably take up too much land that would be needed for a future ballpark, marina, riverwalk, and entertainment plaza. Assuming all of that, a high speed rail station should be built within the four blocks that lie empty next to the Old Grey Hound Bus Station. I would prefer a traditional look similar to the Old L & N Station with the possibility of using the bus station itself as the entrance. Ideally, the tracks would run parallel to CSX's down Ohio Street, cross through the Pigeon Creek Riverwalk over elevated tracks, pass behind Casino Aztar, and then cross 1st and 2nd streets into the rail station.
The tracks for the rail station hub would be located below ground. This leaves plenty of more room above ground. One of the main things I would like the city to pursue is a Greyhound Bus Museum. Currently, there is one in Hibbing, Minnesota but that is over 845 miles from here. A Greyhound Bus Museum would bring tourists to Evansville from all over the region and it would compliment the station's history perfectly. Also, I would leave a little room on the site to build a small farmers market in order to keep the newly created farmers market thriving.
Lastly, a few area residents have stated that they would like to see a restaurant at the site. I would take this one step further. If there is room to build an indoor mall on Main Street, I would build one here, with the majority of tenants having a 50's theme.
Overall, I believe that an underground high speed rail station, with a mall, restaurants, and a museum above ground to be the best solution to improve the Old Greyhound Bus Station site. It would take a dilapidated building and make it thrive once more.