Hamilton Springs awarded $1.6 million grant for commuter rail station

Staff Reports • Updated Mar 21, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Hamilton Springs, Middle Tennessee’s first transit-oriented development, will soon have a Music City Star rail station at its center.

The Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization recently awarded the Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee a $1.6 million federal grant to fund the completion of Hamilton Springs Station, a rail stop at the heart of the emerging Hamilton Springs development.

The Hamilton Springs Station will be the Music City Star’s seventh regional rail station and an additional travel option for people in Lebanon and Wilson County’s growing community.  “We are working hard to establish a positive transit-oriented community image, as well as becoming a destination for tourism,” said Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead. “With this grant to build the new train depot at Hamilton Springs, we are another step closer to achieving our goals. We appreciate the support of the Regional Transit Authority, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and the important support of our state Senator Mae Beavers and state Representative Mark Pody in helping us move this project forward.”

According to Lebanon City Council member Kathy Warmath, Beavers helped arrange the necessary meetings and discussions for the grant.

“It’s always good to be involved in helping meet our local transportation needs,” said Beavers.

The station is currently in the design phase with construction expected to begin in spring 2015.

“The progression of this project has been extraordinary,” said Mike Wrye, vice president of Lose & Associates, Inc., the Nashville-based design firm that developed the Hamilton Springs specific plan. “Hamilton Springs addresses several issues, including unprecedented growth in the area, mass transit and livability all in a single community with a rail station at its core.”

Lebanon is among the highest in population growth in Tennessee, with a 33-percent population increase since 1990. The addition of the train station will create a new point of access to the existing Music City Star rail line and increase ridership significantly.

Phase one of the 396-unit luxury apartment community called Hamilton Station, opened last fall – meaning there will be an immediate effect on ridership once the rail station is complete.

Hamilton Springs is the first community in Middle Tennessee that has planned, designed and built a traditional neighborhood “village” with residences and businesses centered by a train station. It emphasizes the use of transportation modes other than cars, which is a key feature of transit-oriented developments.

Hamilton Springs is a project of custom homebuilder Jack Bell and his brother, Rick Bell. It is in west Lebanon on property fronted along Highway 70 and extending back to Old Horn Springs Road.

“This is an important step on the road to the completion for this project,” said Jack Bell, project developer and president of Jack Bell Builders. “Hamilton Springs Station promises to be a wonderful asset to the city of Lebanon, Wilson County and Middle Tennessee.”

RTA General Manager Lora Baulsir said, “The RTA board and I are pleased to partner with Jack Bell Builders and the MPO on our region’s first transit-oriented development. We are looking forward to opening the new station.”  

“We commend the vision of the Bell family in providing such a quality product to the citizens of Lebanon,” said Craighead.

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