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Arlington Depot opens
ARLINGTON — The brand new visitor information center and restroom facility located near Legion Park in downtown Arlington, was officially opened to the public during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 28, hosted by the city of Arlington.
The facility, which is adjacent to Centennial Trail, includes a meeting room that is free for use by nonprofit organizations as well as a foyer with local visitor information.
The building sits on what was once a railroad area and is now frequented by visitors walking and bicycling through downtown Arlington, but the image of the facility as a train depot remains. A railroad crossing sign reads “Centennial Trail” and the meeting room houses local artwork depicting trains.
The ribbon-cutting event began with a bike ride on the trail and included some vintage cars and machinery, free popcorn and live music from the Brass Menagerie Band in the lot near the building. The antiques were borrowed from Brent and Connie McKinley and Mike Thomas. Locals of all ages gathered around in support of the new building and many purchased shirts stating “Meet me in Arlington” that used artwork from local artist Caroline Sumpter.
“This will help the businesses down here so much,” said MJ Drush, president of the Downtown Arlington Business Association. “For families using the trail to walk downtown, they can stop and eat or get ice cream. We are the only place on the trail where the restroom is downtown and not in a remote setting.”
Drush mentioned that local community events would also benefit from the location of the new restrooms, especially those that take place at Legion Park.
“The farmer’s market, the car show, the street fair. These could all use a public restroom,” said Drush.
City of Arlington Recreation Manager Sarah Lopez was impressed with how many people showed interest in the facility.
“This is a really good turnout,” she said. “Everyone is glad to have the restrooms here and downtown.” Lopez agreed that the new facility will be beneficial for the city’s events.
“It’s nice because we won’t have to bring in porta-potties,” Lopez said.
City Council member Marilyn Oertle spoke during the dedication of the building.
“This is the result of creative minds, grant money and a lot of hard work,” said Oertle. State Rep. Kirk Pearson also said a few words about the building.
“Local projects like this create jobs. All this collaboration is wonderful,” Pearson said.
Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert gave a speech on the history and evolution of the idea.
“This area was once host to freight trains,” Tolbert said. “Now our visitors will arrive by bike, by foot, by roller-blades to our Arlington Depot.”
Following the cutting of the ribbon, which included Tolbert, Pearson and Oertle, as well as members of the Park, Arts and Recreation Commission, cake was provided for those interested.