A milestone: Update #100. So, what’s all the fuss about? Why 100 blog posts about a lousy bus station? I will try to answer that from a variety of perspectives.
First of all, the station itself is historic. Yeah, it’s 131 years old, but I think the more important part of its age is the people who have traveled through the old building. Of the millions of Union Station’s travelers, I’m sure that the vast majority was ordinary people simply going from Point A to Point B. Many others were soldiers and sailors going to wars, sadly fewer coming home. Still others were going off to and coming home from college, weddings, vacations, meetings, you name it. In the early days, I bet many were get-rich-quick schemers, gunslingers, gamblers, plus those who hoped to tame the schemers, gunslingers and gamblers. Through it all, Union Station welcomed them: the good, the great, and the bad.
Second, it’s big: hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of workers, years of work.
Third, it’s nice. The complete project will fill in the only remaining space that was once, well, you know … pretty ugly. A bustling bus station, and shiny, new buildings will be a dramatic improvement.
Fourth, we can see a glorious future. I think it’s fascinating that the old, great station can come back to life with even more ordinary, famous, and infamous characters. The prognosticators predict that 220,000 passengers a day will travel through the station complex within a few years. By comparison, last year, 147,000 passenger a day traveled through DIA which was the eleventh busiest airport in the world.
Fifth, there is probably a personal connection for you. There is for me, and I’m the new kid in town. When Ken Schroeppel and I discussed this milestone posting, he suggested that I had become an “accidental celebrity-blogger.” That put a smile on my face and caused me to think about how it happened. My wife Cini and I traveled to Denver about 15 years ago when we lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We were searching for a big-city downtown to which we could retire when the time came several years later. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt on Welton Street for several days, during which we strolled around downtown. When we came upon Union Station, we wandered in, sat on one of the big benches, and gawked around the train room which was occupied only by a couple of Amtrak employees. We pondered the day when we could live here and ride the train.
Fast forwarded to about 2005 when my retirement was approaching. We chose Denver as the place to live, having rejecting places like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Phoenix, and many other big cities. In anticipation of our move, I wanted to learned more about the city that would become home. I don’t remember how it happened, but I found DenverInfill. After watching the blog for several months, I contacted Ken via email, and he responded. A year or so later, we moved to the 19th floor of Glass House. We had a bird’s eye view of the station and an intense interest in the goings-on in our new hometown. When I joined the board of Union Station Advocates, I finally met Ken. One thing led to another, and I accepted his offer to write about the Union Station project for the blog.
And lastly, I think we like this project because of our collective personal involvement. I am impressed with the rigorous process through which dreamers go to get big things done, and done right. Among the long list of tasks, they seek input from anyone willing to provide it, and they negotiate differences of opinion. In the end, we all become owners of the result, even if it’s a tiny piece of ownership. The process isn’t easy, and it isn’t quick. But when it’s done, it can be magnificent.
So, there you have it. According to your resident blogger, that’s why we like this bus station.