Possible demolition of Ozark depot raises concerns

Published 07/15 2014 07:19PM

Updated 07/15 2014 08:26PM

For more than 12 years, Ozark Railroad Club committee members have worked to save the Ozark depot.  They've raised thousands of dollars and stored many age old items in hopes of preserving the building.

"The railroad depot itself is important, I feel like, to younger generations so that they will not forget their heritage, and so they can see in black and white, where the community was formed,” said Ozark Railroad Club Committee Member Jim Rudd."

Just within the last few years, CSX said it would allow them to move the building.  They even wrote them a check for $10,000.00 to help with the relocation.

But now, they say CSX is singing a different tune.  In their last conversations a month ago, CSX representatives said they plan to demolish the depot this year. 

"Hopefully, they will reconsider what they have stated to us over the phone,” Rudd said.  “If they don't, of course it will be demolished."

City officials say they are on board with saving the depot.  They say the project has simply changed hands too many times, and there's just a little miscommunication.

"I would just like to see it move forward from here.  I'd like to see some more dialogue about what CSX's plans are, and hear what they, when they go back and review the history of it, to see what they have to say," said Ozark Mayor Billy Blackwell.

A CSX spokesperson said they are working on a safety initiative, and they say it's a right of way issue.

"We've identified [Ozark Depot] as one of the areas of encroachment,” said CSX Communications Director Carla Groleau.  “However, we understand the interest in the community in preserving something like that and we'd be more than happy to talk with the city and the community clubs that are interested into looking into other options."

She says they plan to reach out to the City of Ozark and railroad club members to discuss other options.

The old depot was built back in the early 1900s, and railroad club members hope to turn the historic building into a museum and a venue to promote tourism.

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