Gateway and the Starke County Historical Society are in discussions with the City of Knox to deed the Gateway property to the city. When Gateway was conceived, it did not include the Depot and all of the other historic items such as the watchman’s tower, Nickel Plate signal tower or the caboose and tracks.
The area had been an ice and coal yard for years on the west side of U.S. 35 and a fuel distribution center on the east side. To the north was the Golding property that was at one time a 1920 gas station. Jim Shilling convinced the owners of the property to sell it to a private organization called Gateway.
Since that time, an entrance to Knox has been erected, the Depot has been placed on the property, along with a caboose, signal tower, and watch tower.
The Depot is now home to the Starke County Visitor’s Center and Starke County Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Shilling, who has been one of the driving forces to all of these projects, is urging the city officials to now enter into an agreement to transfer title to land and improvements to the City of Knox. He conducted a informational tour of the land and buildings on Tuesday night for the Mayor, City Council members and media.
Even though a brief discussion of the contract was held following that tour, no decision was made on proper language that would be acceptable to both parties. Several parties are to be a part of the final agreement. They are the Starke County Historical Society, Starke County Tourism Commission, Starke County Chamber of Commerce, Knox Gateway, Inc., and the City of Knox.
More discussions are anticipated in the future.