Sunday, December 9, 2007

Railyards update

The latest news on the Railyards in the Sacramento Bee is that Thomas Enterprises has agreed to trade two of the seven Shops buildings to the state of California for use as the Railroad Technology Museum:

There is also an editorial on the costs of the project:

The Bee characterizes the land transfer as a "donation," but it is actually a trade. In return for the land for the RTM, Thomas Enterprises receives two parcels of land. One is at the northern edge of the railyards, in the area where the American River once ran, intended for the Bass Pro Shop and a park. The other is along the waterfront, where Thomas Enterprises wants to build a pair of hotel towers.

There are strings attached: the Boiler Shop will be transferred immediately, and thus restoration and repair of that building can start very quickly, but the Erecting Shop won't come into possession for three years, by which time the museum has to show they have money for restoration and 25% of the funds for exhibits. Considering that the RTM is currently 85% funded, and they have many of their intended exhibits sitting out behind the Boiler Shop, that shouldn't be much of a problem at all.

This Tuesday will be the final City Council meeting about this issue, and the Council will vote on whether to adopt the Railyards EIR, and approve other various measures that boil down to a big "go" flag for the Railyards project.

There are other issues, of course. The National Register of Historic Places Historic District has not yet been established. National Register designation will be an important factor in soliciting grants, loans, tax credits and other funds for historic preservation and restoration of all of the Shops buildings. Issues like access, infrastructure and the remaining million other details still have to be worked out, and then of course there's the big question of whether the state is willing to cough up the hundreds of millions of dollars that Thomas Enterprises wants to bankroll infrastructure.

But we're one step closer.


Daniel said...

Just read your two last posts on the Railyards/RTM. I'm super excited to see this happen. (except the bass pro shops part.) I can remember visiting Sacramento as a kid and loving the CSRM. (I'm a transportation consultant now) I've seen some other great rail museums (York England is really good), and I'm excited about the potential for the RTM. Watching the old locomotives being restored would be really cool. It looks like the museum should be up and running by the time I have kids. I look forward to taking them there.

Sacramento Railyard said...

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