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6/24/2010 6:01:00 AM
Late Arrival
City to begin train depot renovations after 8 years of roadblocks, setbacks
JC AMBERLYN/MinerWork to make the 103-year-old train depot in Kingman look like it did back in 1907 will begin soon.

Work to make the 103-year-old train depot in Kingman look like it did back in 1907 will begin soon.

James Chilton
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - After eight long years of setbacks, red tape and shifting expectations, the Kingman Train Depot is finally scheduled to begin undergoing exterior and interior renovations as early as this week.

The news comes as a triumph for Kingman Public Works Director Rob Owen and Grant Administrator Bill Shilling, who have been with the project since it was first put forward in a grant application nearly a decade earlier. In 2002, the Arizona Department of Transportation agreed to grant the city $600,000 to rehabilitate the building, one of Kingman's oldest at 103 years old, to resemble what it first looked like in 1907.

Over the years, however, the city encountered roadblock after roadblock, with no fewer than five separate regulatory agencies overseeing each part of the process. The city first had to spend two years securing a long-term lease from Amtrak for the property before an architect could begin doing the design work for the rehabilitation.

Amtrak also returned with an offer to construct a 700-foot platform for the depot expanding from Fourth Street east to where the tracks start to turn, which Shilling said required additional multi-agency greenlighting as well as precise time coordination, due to strict railroad safety requirements.

"We scheduled our depot renovation with the Amtrak platform construction so we would do this concurrently and so we could take advantage of the railroad's safety team," Shilling said. "They have very, very stringent safety protocol when you're working near the tracks, and that safety crew is expensive."

The city was dealt another setback in 2009 when it learned the sewer pipes servicing the depot were non-functional and had to be either replaced or worked around. The city only recently awarded a bid to Freiday Construction to install a lift station that will pump the sewage from the depot uphill to the Andy Devine Avenue sewer line.

Shilling said the decision would allow the city to avoid digging under the railroad tracks to replace the existing sewer line, which would again require a lengthy approval period from the railroad itself.

"It's been a long, long complicated process," he said. "We're all excited and relieved to have this thing underway."

The bid for the external and internal renovations was awarded to T.R. Orr, whose $535,000 bid came in well below the total grant amount. If T.R. Orr stays to its estimate, Shilling said, the city will have thousands left over to pay for the lift station as well as the inclusion of several project components it had to cut out earlier in the process.

"Back when the boom was on and we thought the cost of our improvements was going to exceed the $600,000, at that time we had to scale down the scope of the project by taking out some things like landscaping, picnic tables - we even had this little ramada and picnic table at the east end of the property," Shilling said. "We might take a look as this moves along, and if we find out we've got some money, we may take a look at putting some landscaping back in."

In addition to the exterior renovation, Shilling said the project will include the creation of a new Amtrak waiting room inside the depot, replacing the current waiting room at 106 Fourth St., which requires passengers to cross Andy Devine Avenue to get to the platform itself.

The interior renovation will also include space for what Shilling said may become a railroad museum, though the details of that remain undecided. The renovations are scheduled to be complete by early November, with Amtrak expected to begin opening the depot to passengers shortly thereafter.

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• City may fund depot railroad museum

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Article comment by: CeCe00 00

I was just by the depot today and it is looking very nice. Going to be beautiful when finished. The windows are almost all in and they are attractive. The wrought iron fencing is a nice touch.

I think it will be a beautiful addition to downtown Kingman once it is completed. Hope to see more of the buildings restored.

Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Article comment by: Tourism Advocate

Vock Canyon and others. I have been in the tourism business for the last 7 years here in Kingman. I was an employee at the Powerhouse Visitor Center for most of that 7 years. We had many people come in, email us and call that wanted to take Amtrak from Kingman to wherever. I helped many people plan their itinerary and make reservations. We need a depot in Kingman. The railroad is a big part of why Kingman is here. Our town is named after Lewis Kingman, the man that made the way for the railroad - Atchison-Topeka-Santa Fe - to come through here. Kingman would not be Kingman without the railroad. If you read the article, the money is coming from a grant, not out of Kingmanite pockets. Downtown Kingman can be an awesome historic district if the people of Kingman support its renovations. Do you even come downtown Mr. Vock? Do you care about the history of our fair city? We need to keep tourists in Kingman and stop us being just a place to sleep on the way to Grand Canyon or Vegas. It takes money to make money. I am so excited about the Depot's renovation , FINALLY! We need to hold on to our history, not tear it down. Great job Rob and Bill!

Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010
Article comment by: Stephen Wood

I love kingman and its history. The beautiful old buildings and its railroad heritage. A very great deal of the money spent on the remodeling if the station STAYS in Kingman paying the tradesmen who restored that beautiful station. A historic town is restored ONE BUILDING AT A TIME and, when completed, attracts money spending tourists, Some via Amtrak, to visit and spend money. You nay sayers need to think ahead. Kingman doesn't need to continue as a dusty old desert town in the middle of nowhere. It can insted be a profit making destination where tourists spend money. Lots of it!

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Article comment by: Gene Bowker

Great to see another town restoring their depot. I hope to it comes to fruition.

Look forward to seeing it the next time I'm on the Southwest Chief

Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Article comment by: vock canyon

$535,000.00, ARE YOU KIDDING?? Don't want to seem unsupporting of local civil projects but wow, how much per square foot is that......... I think that for that kind of money, demo it and rebuild. There isn't exactly a big crushing crowd waiting to hit the trains, certainly not $600k's worth. I'd rather see the money go towards supporting our local unemployed rather than line more contractractors pockets.

Posted: Friday, June 25, 2010
Article comment by: Great Town

Folks, if you want to encourage more downtown growth, be sure to patronize the businesses down there.
The Cellar Door is a neat place that's priced just right. Beale Street Brews, next door, is also nice. Both of these establishments are the anchors down there and you'll notice other great businesses opening up around them. The former Chefs Kitchen has been purchased and will be reopening under a new name and that will undoubtedly cause more businesses to open in that area.

As long as these places provide excellent customer service (remember the Bistro, closed largely due to poor service) and keep their prices reasonable for what they offer, there's no reason we shouldn't all be down there supporting them. Stop in, have a drink once a week or even once a month, buy a sandwich or a meal. Sure, you could make a cup of coffee or have a glass of wine at home but that's not the point.

Let them know we appreciate their being here and taking a chance on this cool, old town. Besides, it's nice to get out of the house, isn't it?

Posted: Friday, June 25, 2010
Article comment by: nnp nnp

Love the photo! Good work once again by JC Amberlyn!

Posted: Friday, June 25, 2010
Article comment by: P- Rod

This is great! I believe that renovating this train station and opening it up will attract tourists that will spend their money here. I just hope we can convince the businesses on Beale Street to stay open and open on both weekend days! I'm looking forward to this renovation and hope it will bring revenue to the city.

Posted: Friday, June 25, 2010
Article comment by: Loyd Opines

Once again, taxpayer bucks flying out the window to fix up private property that belongs to someone else while our roads turn into demolition tracks.

I thought a recent Goldwater Institute lawsuit was to bring a halt to these types of giveaways -- but not in Kingman AZ, I guess.

I'm all for historical preservation, in most cases, but it needs to be done like the Dunton's did with the old Kimo Cafe (Mr. D'z now). They didn't go begging for a public handout that I am aware of. If it can work for them -- with the right plan -- then it can work for others.

The old downtown could be re-born but not if it's left in the hands of the cheese nibblers of the Chamber of Commerce.

Posted: Friday, June 25, 2010
Article comment by: nnp nnp

I am really looking forward to this! I wonder though, if it is really going to be a train station again, will it be open after midnight when the train gets in from Cal. I have to pick up a friend once or twice a year that does not like to drive alone.

Posted: Friday, June 25, 2010
Article comment by: Jerry Johnson

I think everyone is for this! It's going to be nice to have a downtown area that isn't a total embarrassment to me when friends and family come to visit! The Central Commercial building has been a great start. Now, if they can tear down all the dilapidated houses and buildings...and what's with that dumpy hotel on Beale with the empty lot next to it? They tore the building down that was attached and now it looks like even worse junk!

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Article comment by: MCUHS Class of '65

I have not lived in Kingman for a long time but love keeping up with the news. I graduated in '65 and went to Flagstaff and back many times through that depot. Bare tile floors and a railroad clock at one end (I think) Going back to school on Sunday was interesting since it was a mail train that had one passenger car. It got to Flagstaff about 3AM. One particular trip the passenger car was so old the floors had linoleum and that very high center roof. Train was $7.35 round trip and Greyhound was $11.15. This poor college student didn't mind that old passenger car. That wonderful train got me out of Flagstaff during the 7' blizzard of 1967 too. Yeah that is 7 FEET of snow. It was just rain when I got into Kingman.

Any plans for the old Santa Fe hospital/county hospital/county offices? Or has it been bulldozed?

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Article comment by: Alison M

Thrilled that the grant is finally going forward. I know Shilling has put countless hours into getting this through. Excellent job, Bill! Also glad that the bids went to local contractors who hire locally. Orr and Freiday will do an outstanding job. All around good news!

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Article comment by: yippy yippy

I think this is really exciting. I am looking forward to a rejuvenation project that will encourage people to visit and walk around the downtown area.

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Article comment by: jsut me

hopefully they can get some of the original bricks, fixtures and benches back that used to be in and surround the building. I know many of them are in the yards/landscape/homes of several former city council people as well as former mayor johnsons.
love to see this happen

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Article comment by: For a Better Kingman

This is a great thing for Kingman. The biggest thing impeding downtown progress is the dilapidated condition of the buildings on 66. This can really be a good start. With some of the other improvements down there- the furniture store, the wine bar, BBQ place- Kingman downtown is headed in the right direction.

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Article comment by: Rosa Trabajo

I am glad to see that they are going to be going forward with this. That depot is a local landmark!

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Article comment by: Lumpy Rutherford

Great job to Bill and Rob. That is the grant that Mayor Byrum got for us.

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Article comment by: Proud Kingmanite

This would be a really cool thing if it actually gets done. I guess we'll see.

The only thing I'm concerned about is, will this just be another place for bums to hang around (like the Locomotive park and Metcalf Park)? And what will protect it from vandals?

Sorry for my pessimism, but these are unfortunately real issues that should be considered. I wish they weren't.

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Article comment by: Is this worth it?

I wonder. What benefits will this renovation return to Kingman?.

Im a history buff myself. But the train station?

I guess its pretty important to push eight years to get it done. Hows it going to help downtown Kingman?...Arent we broke?..

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