Depot to be torn down

Union Pacific believes landmark building is liability

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BY RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
Union Pacific Railroad has decided that its train depot at 304 Yampa Ave. should be demolished.
During a periodic review of unused holdings, the company has ruled it's no longer necessary to hold the piece of property and pay taxes on the building. Union Pacific has begun the process of finding a company to handle the dismantling and disposal of the building.
"Periodically, we go through our facilities, looking at the building's structure, and if it's not in use, what its condition is," Alex Tice, community relations director for Union Pacific Railroad, said. "These buildings are just like houses if you're not using it, what's the value of paying taxes or for maintenance?"
To leave the building idle can be a liability. And as a facility deteriorates it reflects badly on the community and the company, Tice said.
Nothing will be happening for at least two weeks while the bid process begins, and there is still an opportunity for the depot to be preserved, he said.
"We're not in the business of historical preservation, but if a group does want to preserve this building, we would gladly work with them if something could be worked out in a reasonable amount of time," Tice said.
The building would probably have to be purchased and moved because Union Pacific routinely keeps land involved in such preservations for track or switching stations, he said.
With community support, this move could be delayed long enough to find a way to preserve the depot, Dan Davidson, director of the Museum of Northwest Colorado said.
"We could list the depot locally, by the Museum board, and still get state funding for the project even if we did move it," Davidson said. "I think it's important that we look at what is possible before it's too late and the decision is made for us."
Davidson is researching what options for designation and funding exist with state and national historical preservation entities, and local organizations. Moving a building of this size, structure and age is estimated at $75,000 to $80,000, Davidson said.
The Community Foundation of Northwest Colorado still has an interest in preserving the building, even though Union Pacific will not donate the building, said Gail Severson, Foundation president.
"We absolutely have an interest in preserving this building," she said. "We would hate to see it demolished, but Union Pacific basically won't donate the building because of liability reasons. We're still trying real hard to get the depot. Outside of the cowboy collection, it's our number one priority."
The Foundation has not yet received any grant money based upon the assessment of the depot the Foundation conducted in April, Severson said.

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