LEAVENWORTH, Wash. (AP)
This Bavarian-themed village in central Washington will be a new Amtrak stop next year. The project to add a passenger train stop on the route between Seattle and Chicago now has enough money to move forward after a nearly $300,000 congressional appropriation last week. Leavenworth, about 20 miles west of Wenatchee on U.S. Highway 2, has raised more than $700,000 in local, state and federal funds to build the Icicle Station train stop, said City Councilman and Mayor-elect Rob Eaton, who has championed the project for at least five years. The federal dollars are a relatively small amount of money that will "have a significant impact on our community and an economic impact on the entire valley," Eaton said. When the stop opens, Amtrak's Empire Builder, which runs between Chicago and S e a t t l e, wi l l s t o p n e a r Leavenwo r th as we l l as Wenatchee. The train stop could increase tourism to the town and increase local job opportunities, as well as give visitors from Western Washington the option of riding the train rather than driving through the Cascades, Eaton said. The city of Whitefish, Mont., gets an estimated 60,000 tourists each year through its Amtrak stop. Those visitors spend an estimated $5.7 million. "We think we can rival those numbers," he added. The city is in the process of hiring a Bellevue firm to design the station, and construction should start in late spring or early summer.