Moving the train depot comes with challenges

“The city has picked up other houses from the flood zone as well as other buildings and moved them to try and preserve Mason City history.”

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 11:09 PM
Updated: Jun 6, 2018 10:58 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa- The Mason City City Council got an update on where they currently stand with efforts to save the Mason City Canadian Depot on Tuesday.
“I would like to see it moved to a piece of city property on Pierce Avenue," said Jack Leaman of Mason City.
Leaman is one of many who have an idea on what they would like to see the depot turned in to if the city can save it. For him, he would like to see it as part of a railroad city park.
“It has enough room that there could be some rail put in, some old passenger cars or rail cars,” he said.
Others have suggested turning it in to a restaurant or a museum, but doing so isn’t going to be easy.
“It can be picked up, it can be moved to a new place, but without a really long-term idea of revenue and upkeep, I hate to say it, but there’s no reason to go through all this,” said Councilman John Lee.
Tricia Sandahl is part of the city Planning and Zoning Division. She said the city has to go through a two-step process to save the building. First, they need to complete a feasibility study to determine if the building can be moved. They then need to find an area to temporarily move the building until they find an alternative use. Sandahl has been in contact with the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company’s real estate division. She said they do understand the historical value of the building but want it moved off the property.
“I initially asked them for 90 days,” Sandahl told the council. “But he told me no. They don’t want to give us an open ended amount of time and then get to the end of the processes and find out we have made no progress.”
Leahman said he understands the obsticals ahead of the community to save the building, but believes since we’ve done it once we can do it again.
“The city has picked up other houses from the flood zone as well as other buildings and moved them to try and preserve Mason City history,” he said.
The city will be holding a brain storming workshop on Thursday. Community members are encouraged to voice their ideas on where to move the building. Those locations will then be taken in to consideration and three of them will be evaluated for cost once they have a company willing to move the building.

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