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Bozeman railway depot used as storage leaves residents questioning how to renovate building

By Eric Turcio, Reporter, eturcio@ktvm.com
Published On: May 09 2013 10:20:22 PM MDT
Updated On: May 09 2013 10:39:34 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The Northern Pacific Railway Passenger Depot sits on land owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. The depot building itself is owned by Montana Rail Link. It has been closed for over 35 years.

Three major historical organizations just completed a structural analysis of the building in which was presented to Bozeman residents Thursday night  The presentation showed residents what the depot looks like inside after being closed for over three decades.

Amtrak discontinued service to the railway in 1979. They shuttered the building and most people in Bozeman have never been inside expect for Don, who didn't want to give NBC Montana his last name. Don used the train to get to his Navy duties in 1950.

"I could have only gone as far as from Bozeman to Butte," said Don.

Don was born in Bozeman. He told us after a long career as a professional photographer and artist, he has seen many historical buildings like the depot on Front Street in Bozeman. Don believes it's going to cost a lot of money to renovate the building.

"It's so farfetched for me to think all that's going to be renovated and taken care of. This is going to cost a lot of money," said Don.

NBC Montana caught up with Courtney Kramer who is the assistant planner for the Historic Preservation Program in Bozeman. Kramer, along with other presenters, showed residents how much it would cost to fix the building.

"The structural analysis is the first step to identifying how much work needs to go into the building. The next phase will identify who to work with to address some of the leasing and financial issues," said Kramer.

Kramer told NBC Montana the railway passenger depot will remain a privately closed building. Kramer says the best way to keep the building, is to find a private investor who can develop it for many uses.

"I could see a business office, community center, a bar, or a restaurant. I just want some new use in the building," said Kramer.

Kramer told NBC Montana so far no plans have come together for adaptive reuse of the building. Right now the building is used for storage of empty oil barrels.