Two buildings in Grand County ordered removed under Union Pacific cleanup plan
A Grand County Model Railroad Club project has been derailed due to a Union Pacific Railroad campaign to clean up its territory. The club, now 11 members strong, purchased a Granby rail-side building for $100 at a county treasurer’s sale last July. The club planned to turn the building into the Moffat Road Railroad Museum upon completion of renovations, but a letter from Union Pacific received June 6 says the club must “remove” its building by Aug.1. “Obviously, this delays things. We had hoped to be in operation by 2009, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen,” said club treasurer Jack Bakken. The land on which the building stands is leased from Union Pacific. The railroad company’s push for 2008 is to remove, replace or renovate all old and dilapidated buildings in various forms of ownership along its rails from Denver to Glenwood Springs in an effort to make the company’s properties more presentable, according to Union Pacific General Superintendent John Rourke. “It’s a huge undertaking,” he said. Each building is being reviewed on a “case-by-case” basis, the superintendent continued, with consideration given to those leasing buildings. But the club isn’t feeling the consideration. Bakken estimates that $15,000 in materials have already been put into the club’s building. The club’s entreatments to rail headquarters in Omaha, Neb., prior to receipt of the official notice were unsuccessful. Reached by cell phone Thursday, Rourke did not comment on specific buildings in Grand County, saying his territory is 2,700 miles long with buildings at every station, and he did not have materials in front of him to comment on particular structures. Since acquisition of the building, the club has rebuilt an office, installed wainscotting, repaired the floor, insulated, put in a new ceiling, drywalled, put in two new entry doors, interior doors, a new font door and an overhead door, put in three new windows, took out the garage door on the north side and replaced it with a wall, repaired the roof, replaced two of the seven sky lights, repaired a ceiling truss, put in metal sheathing on the exterior, plus cleaned up the entire site including nearly three Dumpsters of trash and getting rid of 133 tires that were left in the building. Now that the building needs to be moved or demolished, “We really have to start from scratch,” Bakken said, holding the certified letter in his hands. “This letter and their action forces us to do something better. How else do you look at it? You can only move forward.” Thus, the club is now examining possible land from a community member, and the town of Granby made a suggestion in the most-recent planning commission meeting. Club members may be building a new structure rather than spend money to disassemble and rebuild the old one, having to bring it up to code. The Moffat Railroad Museum, Bakken said, would celebrate the Moffat Road, which rail pioneer David Moffat started building in 1902 to be a line from Denver to Salt Lake City. But the Moffat project got as far as Craig before he ran out of funds and succumbed to death. “We’d model everything between Denver and Craig on the Moffat Road,” Bakken said. Around 1904-1905, the railroad arrived at Granby, and in 1906, Kremmling, where a depot was built. That depot still stands today, and the Grand County Historical Association and the town of Kremmling are racing to save it from being part of Union Pacific’s demolition project. As many as 400 residents have already signed a petition in favor of acquiring and relocating the building somewhere within town, and the town is willing to help with finding grant funds for the project, according to Kremmling Town Manager Ted Soltis. “The goal is to move the structure and preserve it,” said Yvonne Knox of the Historical Association. At a meeting June 5 in Kremmling with railroad officials, the association and the town beseeched Union Pacific to grant more than a month to try and “gather finances and contact a moving company to move the structure,” Knox said. “It is the last existing depot of that floor plan that’s made of frame that was on the Moffat line in all of western United States,” she said. The Historical Association owns land in Kremmling where there already sits a homestead house and a ranger station. An added building could be located there, but it may be “jam-packed,” Knox said. “The ideal thing would be to have someone donate a new tract of land to have it located on.” Eventually, she said, the association envisions repairing the building with some needed TLC so that it too might become a tourist attraction. ” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail email@example.com.