- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A group is scrambling to raise money to buy and restore a historic train depot in a quickly developing area of Des Moines, with hopes of turning the 108-year-old structure into event space and a museum.

The group, called the Des Moines Heritage Trust, must raise $500,000 by the end of June to purchase the building, The Des Moines Register (https://dmreg.co/2oSPmw5 ) reported.

The city has agreed to provide a $250,000 grant, and Polk County has pledged a $150,000 grant. The group is planning to seek private donations for the remaining $100,000.

The property’s renovation is expected to cost $3.5 million. The group’s vice chairman, Tim Waddell, said he plans to spend 2017 raising money for the project and hopes to begin construction in 2018.

The group wants to repair the brick building, rebuild its vehicle port and construct an assembly hall with a catering kitchen. When finished, the depot could host weddings and other events, and would offer meeting space and a gallery for local history groups that don’t have permanent homes.

Wadell, who works at the Iowa Economic Development Authority, said Des Moines is one of the only cities in the area without its own history museum.

The group’s rush to save the depot reflects how quickly the surrounding neighborhood is changing. Apartment complexes will replace a recycling business and a stone company, and a new office is under construction in the former industrial area. A brewery taproom has opened nearby, and officials are considering the still-gritty neighborhood as a site for a $137 million federal courthouse.

Another preservation group, the Des Moines Rehabbers Club, called the train depot one of the seven most endangered buildings in the city in 2015.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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