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PLAINFIELD DEDICATES HISTORIC STATION TO NEW JERSEY’S FIRST SLAIN FEMALE POLICE OFFICER
City also Celebrates Station’s Restoration to its Original Grandeur
PLAINFIELD, NJ, April 30, 2003 - Taking its rightful place among historic surroundings, the newly restored Plainfield Station has returned to its majestic grandeur - fitting of the Queen City it calls home. In honor of the restored station, NJ TRANSIT today dedicated it in memory of Plainfield Police Officer Abigail J. Powlett - the state's first female officer to be slain in the line of duty.
Flanked by state and local leaders, State Assemblyman Jerry Green and State Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Jack Lettiere presented a plaque to Powlett's daughter Noreen, identical to one installed in the station.
"This project is one that brings many benefits to NJ TRANSIT customers and the surrounding community, consistent with Governor McGreevey's Smart Growth vision," said Commissioner Lettiere. "By improving this station, in partnership with the local community, we help to further encourage the use of public transportation and reduce congestion in Central New Jersey. It is an honor and privilege to dedicate this station to one of Plainfield's finest, Officer Abigail Powlett."
"The Plainfield Station is an example of what we as state, county and local leaders can accomplish if we work together, and I am very proud to have played a part in this effort," said Assemblyman Green. "Plainfielders have a great opportunity to build on a solid foundation, but we must work together, we must work as a team. If we do this, these improvements can act as a catalyst for redevelopment of the entire North Avenue Historic District."
"Police officers, firefighters and emergency rescue workers are our everyday heroes," said State Assemblywoman Linda Stender. "Abigail Powlett's service is a shining example of the dedication and commitment these brave men and women supply to their communities."
"The restoration of Plainfield Station - which serves more than 700 riders each weekday - is critical to the continued growth and vitality of this city," said NJ TRANSIT's Executive Director George D. Warrington. "Thanks to improved parking, ticketing and boarding of trains, this project improves transit access and serves as a catalyst for local economic development."
"On behalf of the members of the Plainfield Police Division, past, present and future, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those responsible for today's memorial dedication of Plainfield's Main Railroad Train Station, to the memory of our fallen Sister, Officer Abigail Powlett," Police Chief Edward Santiago said. "Officer Powlett's professionalism will forever remain in the memories of all who were privileged to have known her and to have worked with her. Today's dedication will memorialize Officer Powlett's ultimate sacrifice for generations to come and is a beautiful tribute to her, her children and to the law enforcement profession that she so proudly served."
The $12.4 million Plainfield Station project encompasses not only historical renovations to the complex but features to make it ADA compliant. The inbound building was renovated, while the outbound building was demolished and replaced with an accessible pavilion. In addition, the following work was included in the project:
Construction of high-level platforms with tactile edging and canopies.
Renovation of an abandoned pedestrian tunnel.
Installation of accessible elevators to the pedestrian tunnel and the high level platforms.
Installation of ticket vending machines, signage, accessible telephones, and informational display terminals.
The station also includes artwork by artists David Wilson and Greg LeFevre. Wilson received a commission from NJ TRANSIT's Transit Arts Program to design, fabricate and install traditionally glazed leaded glass panels on the interior panes of the building window openings and in the upper sections of the waiting room windows. Representatives of the Plainfield community were part of a group that selected the artwork.
LeFevre created a 106-inch diameter bronze medallion, which has been installed in the pavement of the drop-off area on the North Avenue side of the station. The project - which was commissioned by a special interest group - depicts a map of New Jersey with a smaller map of Plainfield. The Plainfield map features various events and historical locations around the City.
The Plainfield Station improvements follow a successful $1.6 million project at Netherwood Station, also located in Plainfield. The improvements at Netherwood Station involved the restoration of the exterior of the station building, redesign and improvement of two parking lots, and installation of historic lighting and new landscaping. The upgraded station has increased ridership, from 178 on an average weekday in 1995 to 526 today.
Plainfiled Station is one of 19 train stations located on the Raritan Valley Line, which serves 8,100 daily passengers from Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex and Union counties. On Monday, NJ TRANSIT welcomed its newest addition to the Raritan Valley Line - the $24.8 million Union Station in the Township of Union.
Officer Powlett was on the Plainfield Police force for three years at the time of her death. On March 15, 1985, Powlett became the state's first female police officer to be killed in the line of duty. Officer Powlett is survived by two children, daughter Noreen Kim Powlett and son Jayson Delmar Powlett. The number of women police officers in the state has risen steadily, from 259 in 1989 to 1,004 in 2001 - or one in 24 - according to the State Uniform Crime Report.
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 752,600 daily trips on 238 bus routes, two light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 161 rail stations, 28 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.