Depot Committee To Make Presentation To Commission

Depot Presentation for City Commission: The Depot Committee is approaching the City Commission and City Manager in order to define the role of the Committee and determine future actions necessary in order to preserve and utilize the Union Pacific Depot at 120 Ft. Riley Boulevard.

Members of the Depot Committee include Burke Bayer, Marolyn Caldwell, Cheryl Collins, Doug Demonbrun, Jean Hill, Bob Krause, Roger Reitz, Jim Sherow, Hugh Thompson, and Dixie West.

The Union Pacific Depot was once a center of community activity. Manhattanites met a President here, sent men off to wars and waited for their return. The Depot welcomed students attending the local university. The Depot embodies a historical time when railroads not only helped build this country but tied communities and the nation together.

With this historical significance recognized, the City has applied for and thus far been awarded two grants for the building’s rehabilitation. Each grant constitutes a Phase (i.e. Phase I and Phase II) of the rehabilitation process.

Phase I incorporated a Heritage Trust Fund Grant from the state that was awarded in 1997. $59,920 was provided by the state with a match of $15,000 from City funds and $3,000 from the Manhattan/Riley county Preservation Alliance. Phase I money represents a total of $77,920. In 1998 the City Commission directed City Administration to find an architect to carry out Phase I of the project. Through a search, selection and authorization, Bruce McMillan and his firm were chose to provide the design work for Phase I, using the Heritage Trust Fund moneys. Under the tutelage of McMillan, the depot foundation was stabilized, masonry and the stone base were repaired, a storm drainage system was installed, concrete paving was removed, the dilapidated vestibule was removed, damaged stone was replaced, and a portion of the brick platform was reinstalled.

Phase II represents ISTEA moneys awarded by the Kansas Department of Transportation in 1996. For this grant, Manhattan was awarded $279,000 initially with a $70,000 match provided by the City of Manhattan. This amount totaled $349,000.

In 2001, the contract for Phase II became a reality. The project was re-bid and awarded to Riley Construction for $484,720. Bruce McMillan was designated to perform the architectural design for Phase II. The City authorized a design contract with McMillan for $38,500. The total project was set at $523,220, with KDOT agreeing to pay for 80% or $418,576, leaving 20% or $104,644 for the City and the Preservation Alliance to fund. The Preservation Alliance contributed $8,000, and the City funded the remaining $96,644. Phase II funding paid for removing lead-based paint and asbestos from the structure, repairing or replacing wooded roof truss members, removing the damaged roof and replacing it with a clay tiled one, refurbishing and painting all windows and doors, and adding electrical utilities.

The Depot Committee is committed to seek funding and ideas that will optimize the site as a public use facility. We recommend a public use for a variety of reasons:

1) Public funding has been the thrust behind the rehabilitation of this building and it was not the original intent that these funds would be utilized for a private sector use.

2) The Depot is now on the State Historic Register and we are apprehensive that National Register Site eligibility and future grants will be in jeopardy if a private use is chosen for this landmark.

3) We are wary that private usage might require changes to the fa_ade that would jeopardize its present historic register status.

The Depot Committee has unanimously voted that the interior space of the Union Pacific Depot serve the following public uses:

1) A meeting space serving the promotion of community wide endeavors including those of City and local government.

2) A meeting space serving non-profit organizations.

3) A meeting space serving education institutions.

4) A tourist and public information center promoting City and regional business, institutions and public organization.

5) A center of displaying materials relating to City and local area history, art, and culture.

6) A marketing outlet for public institutions and organizations.

7) A space rented on an available basis for private gatherings.

The grounds surrounding the Depot will be landscaped as a public park with space set aside for public monuments or works of art reflecting the heritage and culture of the City and region. Adequate parking will be provided.

The UFM, Community Learning Center, directed by Linda Teener, has offered to provide the scheduling for public events occurring at the Depot. Aileen Cray of the United Way organization has also expressed a desire to see the Union Pacific Depot used as a public facility.

More recently, the Depot Committee requested, and received, permission from the City Commission to submit a Heritage Trust Fund Grant application to help pay for a heating/cooling system for the building. Using match moneys provided by the Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance, the Depot Committee assumed the administrative costs of preparation, writing, and submission of the grant proposal to the State Preservation Alliance. In this vein, the Depot Committee is prepared to continue similar fund raising activities in the future.

The Depot Committee is requesting permission to actively seek moneys for the Depot rehabilitation and maintenance while saving City staff and the Commission time for other city matters. While we recognize that the Depot is City property, and will remain so in perpetuity, the Depot Committee seeks a more active role in how the building will ultimately be restored and brought to use.