He envisions a facility that will not only serve train traffic butoffer bus service as well. The goal, Elswick said, is to come up with a center that can serve the university as well as the Tri-Cities, Fort Lee and nearby counties.
Petersburg is looking at a similar plan.
Johnson, the city manager, said Petersburg is exploring options for Collier Yard.
"The mayor and council are very excited about the opportunity" to develop the property as a train station, he said.
The city, he said, plans to requestat the Tri-Cities Area Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting next month that a detailed study be done on both locations.
"A lot (of the work) is going to be dictated by when high-speed rail comes," Johnson said. "But we want to make sure we're moving in the right direction."
Like Chesterfield officials, Johnson believes a station can be built that serves the entire area, including VSU, by bus. But, because Colliers is about 210 acres, it could become a multi-use development with retail, office and residential components.
"The mayor and council have given me the direction and authority to continue moving the project down the road ... as well looking for potential funding," he said.
He does not know yet what the project would cost but said "we strongly believe this location is better for the entire region."
Transit officials haven't decidedwhat they will do.
In a study released in August, the Department of Rail and Public Transportation found that "neither site can be readily dismissed from further consideration at this time." It encouraged further study.
Time to study is something officials could have plenty of.
"It's my understanding that its probably going to be a minimum of 25 to 30 years before high-speed rail comes through this area," Elswick said. "And that gives us ample time."
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