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Northern Iowa rail depot may be saved from demolition

June 11, 2018

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Officials and volunteers in northern Iowa want to save a historic train depot targeted for demolition by a railroad company.

Mason City officials plan to move the Milwaukee Road Depot to a temporary location, the Globe Gazette reported . Officials will then select a permanent location along with how to repurpose the structure.

About a dozen people attended the city’s Historic Preservation Commission meeting Thursday to discuss potential locations and uses for the facility. Suggestions included relocating it to a Southport parking lot, near the Cannonball train in East Park or west of the Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery.

North Iowa Model Railroad Club President Steve Juhl suggested moving his club inside the depot. Other residents suggested opening a new restaurant in the structure.

An upcoming feasibility study will help determine where the building can move to and how much it would cost, said Tricia Sandahl, the city’s planning and zoning manager.

Canadian Pacific announced plans to demolish the structure last month. According to railroad spokesman Andy Cummings, the depot has been vacant since the railway relocated its operations to another structure in 2013. He said the depot, originally built around 1895, can’t be repurposed because it’s next to an active rail yard.

The company doesn’t plan to immediately proceed with demolition, he said.

“CP does understand the community has an interest in preserving the depot and is willing to seek solutions that accomplish this,” Cummings said.

The company may use funds slated for the demolition to help relocate the structure, said Sandahl, adding that there will also likely have to be a lot of local fundraising.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

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