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Renovated Saugatuck RR station 'Steams' ahead

Things "officially" got on track at the recently renovated eastbound depot of the Saugatuck Railroad Station, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 19th-century building.

First Selectman Jim Marpe said the renovations, completed last year, include using original lumber, lighting fixtures and windows. Solar panels have also been installed to the roof, he said.

"This is exciting," he said. "This place has undergone a complete renovation and will improve the commuting experience."

Steam, he said, would add to that experience. The shop in eastbound terminal is the second owned at a local railroad station owned and run by Chris Barrett and Briana Pennell. The other opened last year at the Greens Farms station.

Pennell, a pastry chef, makes the cookies and cupcakes offered at the coffee shop herself, she said.

The shop offers locally purchased fare, she added, like Shearwater Coffee, a Trumbull-based company, and Wave Hill Breads in Norwalk. "The milk is from Farmers Cow in Lebanon," she added.

The new station also has handicap-accessible bathrooms, while the solar panels will supply electricity to the building and to four electric vehicle charging stations, Marpe said.

"Briana is my husband's cousin and we came here today to show her our support," said Mary Ann Lindwall, who was accompanied by her three children. "This is just a wonderful shop. It's just a nice place to come."

Miriam West, a Steam employee, said she's happy to be working at the shop and is impressed by its offerings. Her friend, Brynn Blystone, said she's sure anyone taking the train will be happy to have a place to come for their coffee. "That's always a plus," she said.

Also on hand for the Friday ribbon-cutting were a number of town and state officials.

After wrapping up the ceremonials, Marpe exclaimed: "Now, let's all drink a cup of coffee."

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