A toast to the future of the century-old Union Station, the historic and fire-ravaged former New York Central Railroad station near Ann Street, highlighted a reception for boosters Wednesday evening.
"Our goal is to resurrect the station through reconstruction so that the exterior wall will again have its original look, while the interior serves a present-day function," said Brian D. Yaiser, the owner, who lives in the town of Royalton.
Yaiser is a financial planner with offices in Williamsville and at his Royalton Center Road home.
He unveiled artists' sketches and plans for offices, including his own, to flank a "great room," or community hall, which would be used for meetings of youth and civic organizations, and private groups.
The two-floor plan also includes a lower porch area near the tracks, envisioned as a luncheon restaurant.
When asked about funding, Yaiser answered that a $100,000 fund drive will be launched soon, emphasizing a "grassroots appeal" and gifts-in-kind, such as donation of time or the loan of machinery.
Through the efforts of civic groups, such as the Lockport Historical Preservation Association, a $200,000 state grant has already been approved, but must be matched, Yaiser said.
The backers also are applying for a $100,000 state grant which is applicable to facades.
Many of the 35 attending were from the historical preservation group, the Greater Lockport Development Corp., the Downtown Lockport Development Corp., and the City of Lockport.
History buffs conclude that the brick and cut stone station, completed in 1888, is an example of rare Richardson Romanesque design, which employed large windows to let in daylight.
It was a center of Lockport's rail transportation until the mid-1950s, then was vacant until 1971 when a popular, elegantly-appointed restaurant opened there.
A large portion of the building was destroyed by fire in 1974, and its future has remained in limbo since then.