Council supports bid for depot

The Craig City Council on Tuesday agreed to send a letter to Union Pacific supporting the Community Foundation's bid for the defunct Union Pacific railroad depot.

The council's letter will say it favors leaving the building in place.

The Community Foundation has been working with Union Pacific for several years, asking that the railroad company donate the building. According to Foundation Board member Pam Foster, Union Pacific representatives have agreed twice to donate the building and property.

But that changed recently when Lou Wyman, owner of the Wyman Living History Museum, initiated discussion with Union Pacific about acquiring the building and moving it to his property east of Craig.

Union Pacific officials then e-mailed Community Foundation board members, asking them to halt an appraisal.

Council members voiced concern that Union Pacific might require that the building be moved, but Foster said in the 15 years the foundation has been working with Union Pacific, there has never been any indication that would be the case.

Union Pacific, in the past, has argued that the depot is too close to the railroad track.

The Community Foundation board has already agreed to put a fence between the depot and the tracks if granted the property.

The City Council signed a letter supporting the Community Foundation's proposal to renovate the historic site in 2001.

Foster said the request for a second letter was to help focus Union Pacific's attention on the Community Foundation proposal as opposed to Wyman's.

"We feel this would be a very good anchor to have this remain downtown," Foster said. "We're concerned from a historical standpoint and from a city of Craig standpoint because Craig doesn't have a lot of historic buildings."

She argued that moving the depot to Wyman's museum would destroy its historical value, making it ineligible for historical designation and preservation grants.

Wyman did not attend the meeting.

Terri Robertson designed the renovation plans for the depot as part of her master's degree thesis project. She designed it as a restaurant.

Foster said it was the intention of the foundation to create leaseable space that would generate sales tax revenue.

"I really wanted it to be a building for the future," she said. "I believe in historical preservation, but I don't believe in just sitting there preserved. I think it should be used."

Foundation board member Charlotte Craft said several community members have offered to loan or donated railroad memorabilia.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210 or at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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