October 19, 2000

City To Spend Another $400,000 On Depot

By Jon A. Brake

More than a half million dollars is not too much for this city to pay for a meetinghouse, is it?

Our tax and spend City Commissioners are about to spend another $409,000 on the old Union Pacific Depot. That
is after $36,000 was spent on consultants to determine what to do with the structure. Another $100,000 was paid
last year to have the foundation secured.

Three different consultants were paid $12,000 each over a five-year time span to find a good suitable use. The
second consultant told the City to tear the building down or have it moved. That consultant will not be working in
Manhattan again.

After three consultants, a "Depot Steering Committee" and a cry for help from the public, the City has decided
the Depot must be restored to become a meetinghouse.

Here is what the Commission was told about the plans for the meetinghouse: "The preliminary designs for the
structure include creation of a large meeting room in the structure with the community meeting space use as a
focus. The structure's existing baggage room will be retained for mechanical use and can be converted into
kitchen space."

To pay for the "improvements" the City of Manhattan has received a commitment of $279,000 from the
Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. This grant will be matched with $70,000 in local funds for a total
project budget of $349,000 for interior and exterior improvements.

If you add the grant, local match, the three consultant's fees and the foundation work, the City will have paid
$500,000 for the Depot Meetinghouse.

At Tuesday's meeting the Commission approved Resolution No. 101700-C setting November 21, 2000, as the
date for a public hearing for consideration of a Redevelopment Plan for the Southern Downtown Tax Increment
Financing District.

The Commissioners were told: "At the time of the public hearing, interested persons will be allowed an
opportunity to discuss the Redevelopment Plan and comment on the planned expenditure of Tax Increment
Financing funds."

Sure the public will be invited to speak and then the tax and spend Commission will vote to spend another
$400,000 of your money.