OGDEN -- Union Station is getting some new paving stones around the main plaza fountain, but fans of the cobblestones there for more than 30 years don't need to worry, they are just being shifted off to the side.
Union Station Foundation Director Roberta Beverly said the cobblestones around the fountain had problems. Originally salvaged from loading docks north of the station where Utah Transit Authority's intermodal hub is now, they were too big and uneven to make an ideal walking surface, as people could easily trip on the stones.
Union Station wants to redesign the plaza anyway, and a year ago even issued a plea to the public to come help rip the stones out.
That didn't work out.
"People of the community that offered to come down and pull up the cobblestones really didn't know how much they weigh," she said. At about 20 pounds each, it turned out to be an impossible job to do by hand.
Beverly said Union Station Foundation spent the last year putting together funds from Crossroads of the West and the RAMP Foundation, the latter of which disburses funds from a tax approved by Weber County voters in 2004 that allows the county to impose a local sales tax of one-tenth of 1 percent, which is 1 cent on a $10 sale, to improve recreation, arts, museums and parks.
She got enough money to hire a contractor to bring in machinery to rip out the old stones and put in a new plaza. The work began Monday and is scheduled to be completed May 15.
The new plaza will be paved with flat stones that will be engraved with the name of anyone willing to pay $100, a donation Beverly said will go to the foundation to run Union Station.
In addition to a new plaza, she said, the hedges that flank the sides of the plaza will be taken out. That will free up space around the linden trees "and will open up the front of the station."
The cobblestones won't be going away, though. They'll be used to pave the parking circles on the north and south ends of the plaza area.
For more information on buying a paving stone for engraving, call the Union Station Foundation at 801-393-9890, or log on to www.theunionstation.org.
Today is the deadline to purchase a stone to be installed in time for the May 15 grand opening; however, others can be bought later.