City nixes train depot relocation

Published on Thu, May 13, 2010 by By Tara Nelson

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A proposal to relocate Blaine’s historic train depot to Blaine’s wharf district will not move forward unless private developers step in, Blaine City Council decided last Monday.

During their regular meeting, Blaine City Council voted 3-3 to not support a local group’s efforts to move the 3,000-square foot depot to a park near the end of Milhollin Drive.

Council members Bonnie Onyon, Scott Dodd and John Liebert voted against the proposal citing concerns that the city could be liable for upgrades and maintenance of the building once it is moved if Blaine Coalition for Historic Preservation, the group that is spearheading the effort, ran out of money.

“We’re not trying to demolish the station, we're being asked by a group to help move the station to another location, and we haven’t heard from BNSF at all,” Dodd said. “It’s most likely not going to be a community center, it’s going to be storage for boats and a ticket office for the ferry.”

Onyon agreed, adding that she had recently had a conversation with developer Ken Imus, who has expressed some interest in the project as well as the possibility of moving the train depot to the back of the lot it currently sits on.
Council members Charlie Hawkins, Harry Robinson and Paul Greenough voted in favor. A tie vote is an automatic defeat, said city attorney Jon Sitkin.

Members of the coalition said they were disappointed in Monday’s decision but said BCHP will begin looking for a new project to spearhead. In the meantime, they hope the city can find another entity to save the building.

“It’s sad because it would have been a real asset to the community,” said coalition member Richard Sturgill. “I would hope there’s still a way to save it. If the city is adverse to us, perhaps a private developer might take interest. Either way, we’re here for the long-run.”