The Northfield Area Foundation recently awarded a $7,000 grant to the Save the Northfield Depot group to help get rid of asbestos in the depot building, a necessary step to move it and integrate it into a transit hub project.
NAF Chair Dale Ness confirmed Monday that the group allocated the money to the depot group, which was one grant among $55,000 worth of grants that the foundation gave away this year to local groups.
Ness said that the foundation was able to move forward with the grant after the Northfield City Council’s Dec. 4 action to pursue the development of the transit hub project at the Q-block site, west of Hwy. 3 between West Second and West Third streets.
“We didn’t just want the asbestos to be taken off, and then the depot just sitting there,” Ness said. “It’s really a project we’d love to see happen and support.”
He said that the foundation gave the depot group some money last year as well.
Rob Martin, a member of the Save the Northfield Depot committee, said the NAF gave more than $3,000 to have the land surveyed, which the city sold to the group.
He said the cost to remove the asbestos will probably be more than this year’s $7,000 grant.
“We’re really grateful that the Northfield Area Foundation recognized that we had a need and that they were sympathetic to our cause,” Martin said.
He said the group has an agreement with the city, which stipulates that it raises about $293,000 in three years to contribute to the transit hub project that would relocate the depot and install it at the Q-block site.
As co-chair, Martin said he would like Save the Northfield Depot to raise between $100,000 and $150,000 by next summer, which could be accrued through home parties, door-to-door solicitation, various grants and a telethon that the group plans to have in spring 2013.
“There are citizens in the community that support our effort for various reason,” Martin said. “Many of them are concerned about losing a piece of history. There are a number of people that recognize the need for a transit station or a welcoming point for people coming into the community.”
A certified asbestos inspector found asbestos in the depot during an inspection last year, according to an online post by the Save the Northfield Depot on its website. The state requires that the asbestos be cleaned up, which a certified professional must complete.
Reach reporter Kaitlyn Walsh at 645-1117, and follow her on Twitter.com @NFNKaitlyn.