More Cash Needed For Union Pacific Depot
Manhattan City Commissioner Brad Everett wants the City of Manhattan to be responsible in all of it's finincial dealings. Right now the City has received notice from it's bonding agent that the City  has to much debt and they need to change their ways.
Commissioners Bruce Snead and Roger Reitz were part of the Commission that turned a $37million debt into a $64.8 million debt in only six years.
Tuesday night the three had words over the Union Pacific Depot receiving more Grant money. Everett knows that the City has been taking on more debt to pay for the matching funds every time the City gets a new Grant.
This time the Commissioners were told that a group will find the $100,000 needed and not come to the City. Everett says he will vote against any matching funds for the project. Snead and Reitz were ready to vote for the money Tuesday night. Here is a memo on the Depot:
The Union Pacific Depot property came under the City’s ownership in 1990 when the property was traded to the City as a part of the Downtown Redevelopment activities.
Upon receiving title to the property, the City was contacted by a number of individuals and groups who suggested possible uses for the property including museums, Convention and Visitors Bureau, soup kitchen, restaurants, public meeting space, professional offices and others.  As the K-177 bridge project was being designed, the City received a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to perform an analysis on the site for potential users and develop cost estimates for rehabilitation of the building.  A team led by Brent Bowman and Associates worked together to analyze the site and recommended some public uses, but because of the access restrictions from the bridge, it was unlikely that a high traffic retail use would be located on the site.  The team also provided some initial cost estimates for rehabilitation of the structure, which were used for later grant applications.
In 1999, the City sent out Request for Proposals seeking a use for the facility.   After receiving none worthy of recommendation, the Selection Committee continued to meet and discuss the potential use of the Depot.
Several attempts have been made to acquire funding to make improvements and rehabilitate the structure.  In 1997, the City received notice of the award of a Heritage Trust Fund Grant in the amount of  $59,920.  This grant provided exterior foundation stabilization improvements to the facility and was matched by approximately $15,000 in City funds and $3,000 from the Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance.  This portion of the project is identified as Phase I of the Depot Improvement Project and was completed by Sunflower Builders, Inc., in 1999.
In 2001, the City was notified by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) of an award from the Transportation Enhancement Program (TEA 21) in the amount of $418,576.  This grant was matched by $104,644 in local funds.  Of the local funds, the City contributed $96,644 and the Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance contributed $8,000.  The grant provided exterior improvements to the building, including a new roof, painting, and rehabilitation of the windows and doors and is known as Phase II of the Depot Improvement Project.  Interior improvements included removal of asbestos and lead based paint, and the ceiling of the building was partially finished.
Total funds provided through the various funding sources are listed below.  These funds have been used for design fees as well as rehabilitation of the building.  Complete funding breakdown of the Depot to date:
City funds: $111,644
Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance: $11,000
Federal and State Funds: $478,496
In November of 2000, the City requested $430,400 in TEA 21 funds from KDOT to continue rehabilitation of the Depot.  This project, which is known as Phase III, was expected to make the building usable by providing interior, accessibility and mechanical improvements to the building.  The City received notice in June of 2001 that it was unsuccessful in receiving the grant.
In 2002, the Preservation Alliance requested that the City apply for a Heritage Trust Fund Grant to complete air conditioning and heating improvements in the building.  In March of 2002, the City requested $20,000 from the Heritage Trust Fund.  The local match to the grant was going to be supplied by the Preservation Alliance in the amount of $5,000.  The City was notified in May of 2002 that it was unsuccessful in receiving the grant.