Historic Standish Depot Featured in New Brownfield Flip Video

For Immediate Release
December 13, 2018 

For more information: 
Susan Wenzlick, MDEQ Brownfield Communications Coordinator, wenzlicks@michigan.gov, 231-876-4422
DEQ Media Office, deq-assist@michigan.gov, 517-284-9278

LANSING, MICH.  A historic train depot in the small central Michigan town of Standish has become the center of community life and the first stop on the US-23 Heritage Trail after a contaminated gas station next door was demolished and the pollution removed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Standish residents tell the depot’s story in a new DEQ Brownfield Flip video. 

The depot was built in 1889 and many of Standish’s citizens traveled to exotic places on its eight daily trains. In the 1940s, a gas station was built in front of the Standish Depot, hiding it from travelers on US-23. As many as 20,000 cars a day passed through Standish. As cars and planes replaced train travel, the depot closed and was rented to other businesses. For a while, snowmobiles were driven into the depot for repairs. Fortunately, renters left the interior mostly intact.

Eventually, the gas station’s underground storage tanks leaked and contaminated the soil and groundwater. When the gas station closed after 50 years in operation, it was demolished by the MDEQ and the contaminated soil was excavated.

After the gas station was gone, the community saw new possibilities for the busy corner lot. One developer wanted to build a strip mall. Citizens rallied to save the newly-visible historic depot from destruction and raised the money to restore it. The Standish Depot is now a local history museum and the centerpiece of a park where community events and the farmer’s market are held.

The Standish Depot video is part of a series created by the MDEQ to showcase successful brownfield redevelopment projects. The MDEQ partners with communities to protect public health and the environment and revitalize contaminated property. MDEQ grants and loans pay for environmental investigation and cleanup on brownfields. Brownfields are vacant or abandoned properties with known or suspected environmental contamination.

Partnerships between MDEQ and communities have created $4 billion in private investment and 29,000 new jobs over the life of the Brownfield Redevelopment Program. For each grant or loan dollar invested by the MDEQ in protecting residents and the environment, an average of $33 is invested in the state’s economy. When brownfields are redeveloped, property values increase both on the revitalized site and on other nearby properties. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/deqbrownfields.


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