Report Shows Benefits of New Coatesville Train Station Extend Beyond the Tracks

Coatesville TrainSubmitted Image

COATESVILLE, PA — Findings from an Amtrak report on the $65 million reconstruction of Coatesville’s 155-year-old train station demonstrate a ripple effect for growth that’s spurring investment totaling more than $135 million in 40 projects. That’s according to the “Amtrak Station Reconstruction Economic & Community Benefits Assessment” presented to the City of Coatesville’s leadership by PennDOT, quantifying the effects of the project over a 10-year span. The new train station is designed to accommodate Coatesville’s growing ridership and meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

“These local market indicators highlight the benefits not only to the City of Coatesville, but to other regional areas along the Keystone service line, including Harrisburg and Philadelphia,” said James Logan, Coatesville City Manager. “Coatesville is leveraging PennDOT’s 2021-2024 passenger rail campaign and station improvements to attract new investment opportunities to our community and western Chester County area, and as a result we have seen an increase in local and regional small businesses and developer interest in Coatesville.

“The new Coatesville Train Station will be one of many City landmarks to emerge over the next ten years and will provide easy access for neighbors outside the City to experience our new restaurants and soon-to-be sports and entertainment scene in this part of the county. Through a combination of Council leadership, local and state support, community stakeholders and numerous partnerships, we have been able to advance our collective goals to improve the City’s 1.9-square mile footprint. People from near and far are re-Imagining Coatesville USA!”

Among the Amtrak study’s findings:

  • Redeveloping the Coatesville Train Station should increase Keystone Corridor ridership and create a catalytic facility in downtown Coatesville for new, transit-oriented development.
  • At a minimum, projects within the study area will add 543 new jobs, retain 648 jobs and generate 130 short-term construction jobs.
  • Train station construction is anticipated to provide 200-300 short-term construction jobs. Payroll is projected at nearly $8 million.
  • Unemployment rate decreased 50% from 15.5% in 2015 to 7.8% in 2020.
  • Poverty rate decreased 36% from 35.3% in 2015 to 22.7% in 2020.
  • Home values continue to increase in Coatesville above 14%
  • Home ownership increased from 36.4% in 2015 to 41.5% in 2020.
  • Housing vacancy rate decreased from 14.0% in 2015 to 10.0% in 2020.
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“The PennDOT Assessment dives into what City leaders have projected for years toward restoring Coatesville’s economic existence in Chester County,” says Logan. “For more than two decades, Coatesville has struggled with the divestiture of local and regional businesses. But in 2016, Coatesville slowly began to climb out of its spiral decline with a concentrated focus on economic and business activity, quality-of-life improvements, and branding initiatives. Coatesville has always had a real story to tell, and collectively, we have witnessed an incredible resilience to recover and face the obstacles impeding our revitalization from COVID-19, the heart-wrenching protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, to the devastation of Hurricane Ida. This City and its residents will not surrender to adversity.”

The comprehensive study was prepared using available data, interviews with 21 stakeholders and a number of on-site visits. While the full impact of the new train station will be evident over time, the study documents benefits starting in 2015, when PennDOT announced the construction of the state-of-the-art station, through the City’s present-day situation and including some future projected benefits.

“The train station project has helped spark development projects that have already begun to translate into positive economic and community impact,” says Linda Lavender-Norris. “The momentum is helping the City to continue attracting enterprising projects that contribute to Coatesville’s economic upward shift, as well as building community excitement and pride.”

Following are examples of development projects that have been completed or are currently underway throughout the last five years:

2019

  • Midway Arts Building renovated
  • 3rd Avenue Streetscape Project completed
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2020

  • 4th Avenue Streetscape Project completed
  • Ohio-based Cleveland Cliffs purchased Arcelor Mittal Steel Mill (formerly Lukens Steel)
  • City of Coatesville relaunches start-up business and entrepreneur program in partnership with Kutztown University

2021

  • Coatesville Train Station groundbreaking
  • nth Innovation Center opens
  • OIC Enclave Program opens to support City’s workforce development initiatives
  • City Parks & Recreation Commission introduces new direction for quality of life initiatives
  • Ash Park $5 million master plan approved by City Council

2022

  • Rts. 30 and 82 highway intersection realignment
  • Palmer Park improvements (Phases 2 & 3)
  • $3.5 million RACP grant awarded for construction of Fire Station and Public Works facilities
  • RDA City-wide parking study completed
  • The Record Kitchen & Bar opens
  • Splitting Edge Axe Throwing opens

2023 and beyond:

  • Iron Eagle on Lincoln restaurant opens
  • C-Town grocery store opening
  • 30 Prime Seafood and Steakhouse opening
  • Steel City Brewing opening
  • Andrea’s Jazz Café under development
  • Brandywine View Apartments under development
  • CYI (Coatesville Youth Initiative) Community Center under development
  • National Sports & Events Center under development
  • Coatesville New Fire Station and Public Works Facility under development
  • Proudfoot Capital Commercial Project under development
  • 2025 Coatesville Train Station Construction Completion

The City of Coatesville is one of a dozen train station communities along the 104-mile Keystone Corridor East between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Groundbreaking for Coatesville’s reconstructed train station was held in October 2021, and anticipated construction completion is 2025. With a focus on passenger safety, amenities and mobility, the new station will be a state-of-the-art facility including high-level accessible platforms with canopies and seating, stair/elevator towers, a public address system, added parking, lighting and security cameras. A new pedestrian-only underpass will convert 4th Avenue below the train tracks from vehicular to non-motorized access. Accessible facilities will be conducive to increased train travel for an estimated 1,374 Coatesville senior citizens and 1,442 citizens with disabilities.

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Coatesville’s existing train station was constructed in 1868, serving as a community hub that supported the City’s thriving steel industry until the national contraction of the industry from the 1970s to the 1990s. Reduced industrial employment significantly impacted Coatesville, its downtown, and its neighborhoods.

The new $65 million train station investment is funded by PennDOT, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Chester County, The City, and the Coatesville Redevelopment Authority. To complement the new station, PennDOT also completed two streetscape projects in the vicinity of the station in 2019 and 2020 totaling $2 million.

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