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Re: Utah state trying to stuff and mount D&RGW #223

September 08, 2019 08:23PM avatar
waynek Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> After 25 years of restoration efforts there is a
> question of ownership? A suspicious person would
> detect the odor of politics!


There are plenty of politics involved. Unfortunately the Golden Spike Chapter and the 223 are suffering because some people see dollar signs in commercial development of the Ogden Union Station grounds. There is a lot that I can't talk about but here is what I can:

Others have said it already in other venues: "THIS is why (insert organization here) should ALWAYS own their own facility/equipment"
Some have been rather vicious in attacking the chapter as the problem in this situation. That is not the case.

In 1991, the 223 was rotting on the back side of the Utah State Historical Society offices in Salt Lake City. The tender had completely collapsed and the USHS was desperate to either restore or dispose of it.
At that time, the Utah State Railroad Museum was operated by the Union Station Foundation. Among many proposals submitted, including one by CATS, the USF was brought up as a potential receiver of the locomotive, but both the USF and the USHS declined the proposal on the grounds that the USF did not have an active restoration program and would not be able to handle the work required to stabilize the locomotive. At this time, it was understood that the USHS wanted somebody who could restore it to operating condition.
Mike Burdett, who was on the board of the USF at the time, assisted in organizing the Golden Spike Chapter of the R&LHS as a sort of "friends" organization to the USF. The chapter agreed to take on all restoration and fundraising responsibilities if it could be moved to Ogden. Now that there was a restoration structure available, the USF and USHS both agreed that it would be best to go to Ogden, and the USHS issued a grant to the Golden Spike Chapter to truck the 223 to Ogden.

For the past 20-odd years the chapter and the Union Station Foundation have acted in mutual support. The chapter has provided much-needed security and maintenance to the entire museum collection and restored two entire passenger cars in addition to the work done on the 223; in return, the Foundation and Ogden City cooperated in providing a building and some machinery to make up for what the chapter could not acquire on its own.

Of course, in any democratic government, leadership changes and so do priorities. Ogden City got the crazy idea that they could convince Union Pacific to donate the entire Southern Pacific backshops property to them so they could build low-income housing and a shopping mall (according to some public proposals posted on their website and social media). Attention was shifted from running museums to determining how to develop the station into a money maker in a similar vein to the Gateway in Salt Lake City which is built around the Union Pacific depot (the Gateway notably is currently bankrupt and failing).
In light of this, a year ago the city took full operations of the Union Station and USRM away from the USF. In doing so, they locked the chapter out, refusing to recognize the agreement that previous administrations had honored. They presented the chapter with a non-negotiable occupation contract that treated the chapter as a for-profit machining corporation, which is not applicable and would be detrimental to the chapter's goals and to the 223's eventual restoration. In trying to resolve this issue, the chapter went on a document gathering expedition to build a case for a more reasonable occupancy agreement. Unfortunately, neither the USF nor the USHS (ironically) were very good at keeping records. The Chapter had to procure the documentation to prove that they were legitimate in their claim to perform restoration work, and in spite of the proof still has not gained access to the shop, not even to retrieve chapter-owned tools.

The USHS opened up the proposal process again, and was willing to work with the chapter in drafting a new formal agreement as caretakers if their board were to approve it, but then the State of Utah threw everybody for a curveball by revealing that they are performing studies to build a State Museum on the capitol grounds and want the locomotive for their own plans, and told the USHS to forego all proposals for the next decade.

Short version: government, money, and politics get in the way of a progressing restoration project.
Subject Author Posted

Utah state trying to stuff and mount D&RGW #223

gregcoit September 08, 2019 01:22PM

Re: Utah state trying to stuff and mount D&RGW #223

waynek September 08, 2019 02:55PM

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D&RGW 223 September 09, 2019 06:42PM

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