Norfolk Southern applies for demolition Historical Foundation continues to work on saving building
By: STEPHEN SEEBER Record Express Staff, Staff Writer
The demolition process is moving forward, but at least one local historian is not giving up on the old freight depot on Water Street.
The Record Express learned Monday that Norfolk Southern applied for a permit last week to raze the last of Lititz’s three railroad buildings.
"There’s no timeline right now," said Dave Pidgeon, Norfolk Southern’s public relations manager for Pennsylvania, when asked about a demolition date. "A this point the building remains a safety hazard and has little to no operational value. We can’t let it continue in its current state. At some point, we have to move forward."
Some believe the building has historical value, and that it could be refurbished and incorporated into future economic development. Lititz’s first railroad station was built in 1863 where Wilbur Chocolate Co. is currently located. A second passenger station was built in 1884 at Lititz Springs Park, but was demolished in the 1950s. A replica was rebuilt in the late 1990s. The third and final of Lititz’s railroad buildings, representing the height of railroading in the borough, was the Water Street freight depot in 1921-22.
"I think it can be saved if there is enough cooperation between the current owners of the station and the parties interested in purchasing it," said Cory Van Brookhoven, president of the Lititz Historical Foundation. "I continue to hope an agreement can be worked out."
Lori McEntarfer, Lititz’s zoning officer, said demolition plans are not finalized.
"They may begin when I issue the permit, and that will only be when I am satisfied that they have answered all our questions to our satisfaction, since this is a floodplain."
Questions that need to be resolved include whether or not there is an oil tank in the basement that could be leaching hazardous materials into the ground. The borough also wants Norfolk Southern to supply a site plan showing the area of disturbance, and for the railroad company to give something in writing as to how the property will be stabilized once the building is removed.
Van Brookhoven said an email was sent from the Historic Preservation Trust to a representative from Norfolk Southern in an effort to begin discussions on options to save the building from demolition. More OLD DEPOT, page A7