BERNARDS TWP., NJ - The Lyons train station in Bernards Township is not only a stop along NJ Transit's line for commuters and other riders, it's a piece of local history. 

And a $96,580 grant that the township has been awarded through the Somerset County Historic Preservation Commission recognizes both important qualities.

The township-owned station, about a century old, is located off Lyons Road, next to the Lyons Mall. The rail stop is relied upon by many township commuters and others heading off to New York City or other points along the train line.

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Township Administrator Bruce McArthur announced the grant award at Tuesday's Township Committee meeting, which he said will be used to repair the canopy that shields waiting train riders from weather. 

The canopy, as part of the station building dating back to the early 1900s, was considered eligible under the county historic preservation program, he said.

He said the township applied last year for a separate grant to repoint, and perform structural repairs on the station building itself. Bernards already has been awarded a $103,000 grant to fund those improvements, McArthur said following the building.

Although Bernards Township has owned the building since the defunct Erie Lackawanna Railroad divested itself of a number of stations in the area, the use of the station is limited, McArthur said.

New Jersey Transit, which now operates the rail service, continues to hold a 99-year lease on a good part of the building, he said. A coffee vendor also pays the township about $200 a month to operate inside the station, he said.

No date yet set for work

Although both grants have officially been awarded, McArthur said the funds have not yet been received by the township, and no contracts have been awarded yet for the actual work to be performed.

Bernardsville architect Dan Lincoln prepared the application for the historic funds, he said.