Friday, December 22, 2006

Litchfield train depot stirs renovation interest

[Source: Lynh Bui, Arizona Republic] -- The Old Litchfield Train Depot is on track for salvation. After learning the structure was in danger of demolition, several people have started looking for ways to save the piece of southwest Valley history. Railroad enthusiasts, non-profit organizations, private investors and Avondale officials are all working on plans that could transport and renovate the building. Built in the 1920s and originally owned by Southern Pacific Lines, the depot greeted many of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.'s top executives during their visits. Tim Vitta owns the depot and the land in Goodyear where it sits. He has received several calls from people who want to save the depot. "It would be best for it to stay local where it makes more historical sense," Vitta said. He plans to donate the structure to a non-profit agency but hasn't decided who gets the building.

Whoever takes the depot would have to pay for moving and renovating the building, not a cheap endeavor. When Goodyear considered buying the structure in 2003, it estimated that it would cost $45,000 to move it and an additional $550,000 to $800,000 to renovate it. Because of the cost and staff time, along with other complications, the city quit pursuing the depot. Goodyear Communications Director Paula Ilardo said the city doesn't have plans to get involved again, but could, depending on direction from the City Council. Meanwhile, the High Desert Heritage Museum has expressed interest in the depot for a museum that would feature Arizona's history of mining, railroading and ranching. The new non-profit agency is working to build a museum and park in Cordes Junction. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]