Cheney Free Press -


Cheney reviews EWU recycling center, depot demolition applications

Burlington Northern Santa Fe depot built in 1927 once recommended for listing on national historical registry


Paul Delaney

Unique styling to this area, the Cheney train depot was built at the request of former Washington governor and Cheney Mayor Clarence Martin.

The city of Cheney has issued notices of mitigated determinations of non-significance on a pair of project applications: one for a new recycling center at Eastern Washington University and the other for demolition of the former Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad's depot on Front Street downtown.

Neither application requires a public hearing, and both have comment periods open through April 3.

Eastern's proposed recycling center would be built near Central Stores and the Surbeck Services Building along Washington Street north of Roos Field. The estimated $900,000 construction cost would also provide an additional 108 parking stalls at lot P-12.

ALSC Architects' Dave Bueschler said many of the final details are still being worked out, particularly regarding equipment that might change the projected construction price. He also said they are looking at bid alternates, including adding space for a new surplus equipment sales location similar to the one now located in downtown Cheney at the former Safeway building.

"We're still pretty early on in it," Bueschler said.

The Northern Pacific Depot was built in 1927 at the request of former Washington governor and Cheney Mayor Clarence Martin. According to application information, Martin wanted the city to have "a respectable looking depot."

The building was unique to train depot styles in the northern United States at the time, incorporating a Spanish-style architecture. The National Parks Service determined in 1990 that the building was eligible for inclusion on the National Registry of Historic Places, but it was not listed at the request of the building owner.

One mitigation measure required by the city is an asbestos survey and proper removal by a certified asbestos abatement contractor if the substance is found. The city also requires BNSF provide a Historic American Building Survey and a Historic American Engineering Record for review prior to issuing a demolition permit.

BNSF officials said a timeline and details for the project would be provided once a permit is secured. According to information from the Cheney Museum's blog "Notes from the Museum," BNSF has offered the depot to any group or organization that can move the structure off the railroad's property. The museum added that while there has been a lot of talk about saving the depot, "no one has stepped forward willing to help organize an effort."

Public comments on both projects should be directed to Cheney planner Brett Lucas at, by mail to the Community Development Department, 112 Anderson Road, 99004, or by phone to 498-9240.

John McCallum can be reached at


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