Twenty years of work culminated Tuesday when the Galt City Council unanimously approved a $25,000 lease agreement with the Union Pacific Railroad. The city plans to install landscaping and a public parking lot as part of its ongoing Old Town revitalization.
The property, which includes most of the vacant property along both the east and west sides of the tracks between A and F streets, is currently open space.
“The idea is to beautify it as well as create parking to support our downtown area,” said City Manager Jason Behrmann, who has been working on the project since being hired by the city seven years ago.
Since then, both Brewster’s and Galt Place have been built on 4th Street, directly across from the railroad tracks.
“It’s going to be really nice for those people to look out and see something other than weeds,” Councilwoman Barbara Payne said. “I’m happy we’re working on both sides of our railroad. I think it’s a good way to spend our money.”
An additional $100,000 or more will be required to build an 8-foot, “vandal-resistant” fence along the active railroad tracks under the agreement. That money is expected to come from a Community Development Block Grant as part of the Quiet Zone project also underway along the railroad tracks, Behrmann said.
The lease with Union Pacific is for 20 years. If the railroad company opts to not renew it after 10 years, it must refund the city its $25,000 under the agreement.
The money was originally to come from redevelopment funding, but the state eliminated that funding a couple of years ago. Instead, council members approved the one-time fee to Union Pacific from the park capital impact fee account.
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