New Amtrak station brings hope of economic development in Arcadia Valley

City of Arcadia hopes Amtrak station will boost its economy
(Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)

ARCADIA, MO (KFVS) - On Saturday, the City of Arcadia broke ground on a new platform they say will boost their economy.

The city had been trying to get a new Amtrak station for a while.

According to Carol Kelsheimer, president of Our Town Tomorrow, Arcadia Valley has needed a boost to economic development in the area. She said this is exactly the boost they need too.

"The people come through here going to Black River to float and to camp, but a lot of them don't stop," she said. "They just go straight through, so one of our main reasons for the Amtrak stop is tourism to help the community."

Kelsheimer has been working diligently on trying to get the Amtrak station here in Arcadia. After years of phone calls, negotiations and help, the dream is now coming true; and sooner than you think.

"Our community here is in need of some economic boost," Kelsheimer said, " and right now we rely a lot on tourism."

The project is anticipated to be complete by the end of July, 2016.

Arcadia already basically has what they need for the new train station. Their Chamber of Commerce and museum was once a train station from when the train stopped through here in the 1940s through 1960s.

"We have the railroad track and we have a beautiful train station that is already ADA accessible, so we actually don't have any need for any renovations for the train station," she said.

On September 11, 1941, the Ironton-Arcadia train station was dedicated with a crowd of an estimated 2,800 people at the event. That train station actually replaced the Ironton Depot from 1908 and the Arcadia train station from 1906.

However, the new train station on May 5 took a long road to get to where they're at right now.

"The only two stops in the state of Missouri (on this track) is St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, so we're right in the middle. We are a perfect spot for another Amtrack stop," she said.

On November 30, 2010, two residents of Arcadia Valley attended a tourism meeting at the Arcadia Valley Chamber of Commerce and requested getting an Amtrak station here, according to Kelsheimer.

"Most of the people were very skeptical," she said. "They didn't think that this would happen, but we had a ground breaking Saturday so they know it's going to happen."

Kelsheimer said months went by and many letters of support were gathered from area residents and were forwarded to Amtrak in support of a new station.

Fundraising efforts ensued and gr ants helped get the project going.

Support from many around here helped make this happen according to Kelsheimer, which includes $420,000 from the Transportation Enhancement gr ant from MoDOT,  $113,074 from Iron County Economic Partnership, $50,000 from the William Edgar Foundation and $30,000 from the Taum Sauk Fund.

"It's going to give an opportunity to start up new businesses," Kelsheimer said. "We are going to have a shuttle service, we already had someone showing interest in doing that. Rental car service; taxi service; new businesses, as far as shops and restaurants; that type of thing. I think it will be a tremendous asset and really help us to grow."

Arcadia Mayor Roy Carr agreed.

"I think it means a whole lot because I think it's going to really boost this valley up," Arcadia Mayor Roy Carr said. "Not just our town Arcadia, but it will be for Ironton and Pilot Knob, the valley and surrounding areas."

Carr said this will help bring in more money and more growth into the area which could bring in more business development to the valley and possibly new future jobs along with it.

"Here at our train station, we have a museum inside that has everything representing our valley here, and so we have a lot of visitors that come in for that," Kelsheimer said. "So now they'll really have something to stop for."

The old train station currently has everything they need except the building of a new platform, which was part of the ground breaking on Saturday, April 30.

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