Chamber considers Marcia car options

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At its Thursday meeting, the Craig Chamber of Commerce board:

Approved supporting Initiative 121, a ballot measure that will go before voters in the Nov. 4 general election.

The measure, if approved, would allow Colorado cities with legalized gambling to vote on whether citizens there wished to raise bet limits or allow casinos to stay open longer.

Some of the extra tax revenue from casinos would go to the state's network of community colleges.

Approved six names for board seat election ballots, which will be mailed to Chamber members in the coming days.

Board president Bryce Jacobson, board vice president Gail Severson and board members Joe Bird and Debra Teeter are up for re-election and will run again.

Vicki Burns, owner of United Country-Brass Key Realty, Ltd., and Lou Groff, Wal-Mart SuperCenter manager, also asked to be on the ballot. Everyone who asked to be on the ballot was included.

The Chamber board will count the votes at its Oct. 7 meeting, and the four people with the most votes will be named to the board.

— Most of Craig's growth can be traced back to the railroad, and the town would be well served to keep a piece of that history alive, Dan Davidson told the Craig Chamber of Commerce board.

The Chamber board has discussed various options about what to do with the Marcia car, a train relic from the early 1900s.

The board voted recently to explore all options, including selling the car to another group, because upkeep costs are a constant drain on the organization's budget.

Board members said they do not want to throw the historical site away, but did mention the Museum of Northwest Colorado - of which Davidson is the director - as a possible group that may want to buy the piece and add it to its collection.

Davidson did not address whether his museum would be willing to purchase the train car, but said it could be one part of a cross-town tourist attraction.

"You have Lou Wyman's (Living History Museum) at the east end of town, then people could come into Craig to see the Marcia car, and then they could visit the cowboy and gunfighter collection at the museum on Yampa," Davidson said. "You'd have a three-legged piece for the cultural heritage tourism. That's just my biased opinion."

Davidson added ideas to make the car visit more interesting for visitors, such as hiring someone to pose as an old-fashioned porter who would introduce tourists to the Marcia car's posh interior.

"We could do some neat living history stuff with it," he said.

Chamber Executive Director Christina Currie supported Davidson's concepts.

"We can move (tourists) through the community to all these assets we have," she said.

Board members also gave their approval, but no actions were taken.

Next, Mayor Don Jones was asked if there was any news regarding the Craig Depot, once the final stop on the rail line from the Front Range to the edge of the Western Slope.

The Community Foundation of Northwest Colorado, made up of local residents, is trying to keep the historic building - now abandoned - from being torn down.

Jones indicated the Depot's future does not look good, but he and resident Pam Foster are searching for properties where the building could be moved from its current location at the south end of Yampa Avenue.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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