May 22nd, 2011: the day that we estimate 150 people witnessed the culmination of several years worth of planning, tens of thousands of dollars spent, and eleven months of almost nonstop work. That day was the grand re-opening of Hawthorne station.
VRA board members and other dignitaries pose with Hawthorne Mayor Richard Goldberg for the opening ceremonies.
Most of us arrived at the station aboard motorcars or as flaggers for the motorcar trip that had begun that morning in Sparta. While those people were out on the rails, another group of very dedicated people were at the station preparing for our arrival. That work not only included getting the barbecue ready for our motorcar participants – it also included some last minute painting of (and display setup in) the station.
Now you may ask, “Why in the world would we be painting and doing interior work just hours before the opening?” Well that answer is easy: it rained for almost a week straight before the opening, and the building was nowhere near ready for a true grand opening. So we did the next best thing: we worked any time it was not raining. Only through the efforts of a few very dedicated people did we get the wall facing Diamond Bridge Avenue painted so that it would make a nice backdrop for photos. The rest of the building would have to wait until a later date.
On top of the rain problems, we also had to have a last minute expenditure to put in a railing along the deck because the fence height it did not meet code. (Grrrrrrrr…) Oh well. The railing came out great, and it certainly adds to the safety of the deck. Despite all the delays the station looked great for the opening, and we received countless compliments on the job we did.
In the weeks since that day, the painting is all but done, the grounds have been kept up (and look great), the interior is set up nicely and – oh yes – the roof still needs to be replaced. In addition, the basement needs cleaning and straightening, the finishing touches need to be put on the painting, and most importantly the walkways and pavers need to be completed. Please watch your e-mail for work dates.
As you know we have been selling paver bricks as a fund-raiser to help pay for all of the work. While we have sold quite a few, we are well short of the amount we need to really help complete the walkways. So, if you have not already purchased a brick (or two) please consider doing so. The order form can be found at the end of this issue or you can go to our web site, www.vratrips.org and place your order there. Also ask your friends and relatives if they would like to purchase one. It is a great way to remember a loved one, to list a family name or just show your support for the project.
Fittingly one of the first pavers produced, the paver dedicated to the memory of VRA founding member Joe Weber was placed on the grounds of Hawthorne Station for the Grand Reopening ceremony on May 22nd. It is our firm hope that it will be joined with many others to form the walkways of the station grounds. We need your help and support to make this happen.
Also, please note that we will be opening the station every Sunday from 9am to 3pm to take part in the Chamber of Commerce’s Farmers Market. We need volunteers to cover the time so if you have a few hours or all day available please sign up to help.