Base support for the restoration of Union Station culminated in a festive fundraiser scheduled for September 24 at 95 Union St.
Supporters operating as the non-profit organization New York Central Train Station Inc. have gathered every Sunday for the past month to organize the fundraising/awareness event. Their final planning meeting will take place this Sunday at the Niagara County Golf Course, beginning at 2 p.m.
Member Andrew Kifner, a longtime supporter of Union Station restoration, said the organization is still trying to get back on its feet, but looks forward to more Union Station-focused events and more hands-on involvement. like-minded community members.
“We get a lot of interested people, but honestly we end up with the same questions: is this real? Is the owner involved?” Kifner said. “I don’t know if it’s because of this they have seen in the past, but they have doubts.”
Now they have answers, too, from Mark Davidson, the longtime owner of Union Station.
“It’s real,” Davidson told the Union-Sun & Journal. “I’m from Missouri, the ‘show me’ state. I believe half of what I hear and nothing of what I see, but it’s all taken care of.
Davidson said he is committed to seeing Union Station resurrected for as long as it takes. His ultimate goal is to see it used in passenger train service between Niagara Falls and Brockport.
“I want everything to be very slow, and that includes all restoration work,” he said. “I will supervise all that, the electricity, etc. and I’ll make sure we get a good deal to rebuild that. All the money (raised through New York Central Train Station Inc.) will go towards renovating this building.
During the next fundraiser, scheduled for 3-7 p.m. on September 24, “decorative” bricks from the original construction of Union Station in the 1880s will be available for purchase. They are authentic to the site, Davidson said, but they cannot be used for restoration.
Entrance to the grounds is free during the event, and there will be a food truck and bar on site. Proceeds from a 50/50 raffle and split will go to New York Central Train Station Inc.
Additionally, two bands, Yellow Jack and Southbound, will be playing during the event.
Yellow Jack’s sound has been described as “Americana-rama”, for the group’s embrace of local history in songs it performs such as “O Mighty Niagara” and “Buffalo Gals”, and the member of the group Dennis Reed Jr. said they were happy to have been asked to get involved with Union Station.
“We are really interested in local traditions and how they are preserved in song. We see this organization doing something similar, in a physical way, to save her,” Reed said.