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Galesburg city council pledges $1M for Railroad Hall of Fame

 A rendering of the current plans for a National Railroad Hall of Fame in downtown Galesburg.
Courtesy photo
National Railroad Hall of Fame
A rendering of the current plans for a National Railroad Hall of Fame in downtown Galesburg.

The city of Galesburg is pledging up to $1 million for a railroad tourism project that’s been decades in the making.

The idea to build the National Railroad Hall of Fame in Galesburg dates back to the early 1990s, when local business owners were looking for ways to boost the economy.

Resolutions formally recognizing Galesburg as the official site of the NRRHOF were passed by Congress in 2003 and 2004.

The project was announced to the public in 2006, as was a local fundraising campaign.

Over the years, the scope of the project has changed due to difficulties in fundraising and the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was announced as a $60 million facility that would be located off Interstate 74 on the east side of Galesburg.

But now it is a $7.7 million project that would be located next to the Amtrak station downtown.

The city has always supported the dream to have the tourist attraction celebrating railroading in town.

Now the city council has approved reserving $1 million for the project, half from the General Fund and half from the Economic Development Fund.

Interim City Manager Wayne Carl said authorizing payment of the funds will require a separate vote.

“Even though the funds will be reserved, if the city council determines that the funds are needed for a different purpose, they may be utilized for these other purposes, as decided by the council,” Carl said.

Mayor Peter Schwartzman said he hopes the National Railroad Hall of Fame board uses the city’s pledge to bring the project to fruition.

“We would love to see this in our community,” Schwartzman said.

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Jane Carlson