Like Marion, Strong City to renovate depot
Like Marion before it, Strong City is getting ready to renovate its century-old railroad depot, the completion of a goal set more than a decade ago.
City Clerk Shari DeWitt was aware of Marion’s success renovating its depot into a library in 2002 but said Strong City had been trying unsuccessfully to acquire its depot from BNSF Railway Company for some time before that.
The depot was finally donated to the city in 2006, and the city has received a grant from Kansas Department of Transportation to fund 80 percent of the project.
Engineer Mike Schmidt of Strong City said final approval came Monday morning. All that is left is signing the contract and waiting for spring to start work.
Schmidt said he had looked at other renovated depots early in the planning phase. He drove by Marion City Library to look at it, but he wasn’t able to tour the inside.
The Strong City project will include renovation of the roof and exterior as well as most of the interior.
When it is finished, the depot will have public restrooms as well as a few rooms suitable for meetings or events.
Fundraising hasn’t been enough to fully renovate the interior, Schmidt said. The baggage and freight rooms will have to wait until additional money is available. That space could become a museum. Estimated cost of the project is $570,000.
Marion’s project cost $700,000 in 2002.
Based on inflation data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that would be roughly $900,000 now.
Work will begin in spring and is estimated to take 305 days to complete.