Future of Craig Depot in hands of Union Pacific

Museum of Northwest Colorado believes lack of communication is clouding building's fate

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By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
The effort to save the Craig train depot building is still underway but where the process is going depends on which angle is taken. Several different entities, including the Museum of Northwest Colorado, Union Pacific Railroad and the Community Foundation of Northwest Colorado, seem to be at a different point in the process of saving, or not saving, the depot on Yampa St.
The Museum's director, Dan Davidson, is concerned that time is running out for the depot to be saved.
"I would just hate to see this building lost," Davidson said. "I think this is something the community wants to keep, and we need to decide how to save the building, if we want to, before it's too late."
The problem seems to be that at Union Pacific Corp. that "the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing," according to Pam Foster, Foundation board member. "There is miscommunication between the different pieces of Union Pacific."
The Foundation has already done a comprehensive assessment, which was turned over to Union Pacific, and has supplied any requested maps, pictures and information sometimes twice, according to Foster.
"We really have jumped through the hoops for this project," she said. "Any request they have made of us we have replied to immediately."
The depot has been designated for demolition by Union Pacific, and the company is in the process of making the arrangements to destroy the building. The company is now collecting bids on both removing asbestos from the building and removing the building itself.
There is still time to save the building from demolition, but time may be running out, said Alex Tice, community relations director for Union Pacific Railroads.
"A lot of our buildings are saved for historical purposes it's an extremely common practice," Tice said. "There is time left before a final decision is made. A normal procedure will be followed in getting bids for the work, evaluating them, and then signing a contract.
"Until a contract is signed, there is room for negotiation [with the community] about the fate of a building."
That process should take at least until the middle of November, Tice said.
The project seemed to be on the right track a few months ago, and the Foundation was in agreement with local and state representatives of Union Pacific, but an internal restructuring at the top levels of the company derailed the project to turn the depot over to the Foundation, Foster said.
"We had been told that the proposal had passed through the local and state authorities within Union Pacific, and we were waiting for word from the national headquarters in Omaha," she said. "But things changed within the company, a new V.P. came on, and all of a sudden the depot is too close to the track, and can't be donated.
"Right now we are working with the National Historical Trust to research what contacts still exist in [Union Pacific], and what can be done with this project."
The Foundation has told Union Pacific representatives that any conditions such as a fence separating the existing track from the depot would "gladly be met. We've been sure to let them know we are willing to comply with any requirements they have," Foster said.
The Foundation requested that people who supported acquiring and saving the depot write letters to Union Pacific, and published where to send those letters in the Craig Daily Press.
"Even if someone just sent a postcard, we really hope they'll send it," she said. "The only other grassroots effort we might organize would be a petition letter that would collect signatures to send to the company."
Anyone interested in saving the train depot should call the Community Foundation of Northwest Colorado at 826-0189, or the Museum of Northwest Colorado at 824-6360.
Individuals are asked to send letters to:
Richard K. Davidson,
Chairman,
President & CEO, Union
Pacific
1416 Doge St., Omaha, NE
68179

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