Railroad wants money

Wyman mulls options

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For Lou Wyman, three years is the difference between making $40,000 and spending $25,000 to move the Craig Depot to his Living History Ranch.

The Craig man said Union Pacific Railroad offered him $40,000 three years ago to haul the depot from the end of Yampa Avenue in downtown Craig. The company was planning to demolish the building, he said.

But the employee who made that offer has left Union Pacific, and on Friday, new company representatives have told Wyman he'll have to pay $25,000 if he wants the building.

Meanwhile, Union Pacific is offering to give the depot to the Northwest Colorado Community Foundation free of charge.

Patt McCaffery, Community Foundation chairperson, said she faxed letters of support from Craig City Council and her personal friends to Union Pacific on Monday, but she has not yet heard anything from the company. The company has not given McCaffery a date by which it plans to make a decision.

Frustrated with Union Pacific's about-face, Wyman said he plans to make no immediate decisions.

"I'm just going to let it go for now," he said. "I want to see it saved even if I don't get it."

Wyman said railroad management told him the company no longer gives away property. The $25,000 represents the price at which the building was assessed.

Wyman planned to move the depot to his ranch east of Craig, where he would restore it, as he's already done with historic buildings such as the Pagoda Store.

But Wyman also has been talking to a Phippsburg resident about purchasing the Phippsburg Depot. That train depot is wood as opposed to the Craig Depot's brick, and it's smaller and older.

It would cost $80,000 to move the Craig Depot, Wyman estimates. He said he can move and restore the Phippsburg Depot for less than the purchase and moving costs of the Craig Depot.

Foundation members say Union Pacific has twice promised to give them the depot twice.

The Community Foundation argued that if Wyman moved the depot, it would destroy the building's historical value because it is the last depot built on the last railroad in America.

Wyman said he couldn't deny that the building has value at its current location, but even if it's moved, it will retain its architectural value.

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