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Depot moving proceeding despite some snags

Cheney Deport Society has finally secured ownership of 1929 structure, land on which to base its future home


Last updated 8/8/2019 at 8:39am

Plans to move the historic Cheney Railroad Depot are close to becoming a reality, despite a slight slowdown in logistics.

In a July 10 email, Cheney Depot Society secretary Sue Beeman said the organization completed an agreement with Sunshine Investment partnership to receive as a gift property owned by the partnership at the corner of Union and 1st streets. The property, located across from Sears and Jarms Pump, was originally a home fuel oil storage facility, and until a couple years ago the site of Dow Landscaping.

The property will be used with adjacent property at 1st and I streets as the future site of the depot once it is moved from its current location between the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks and 1st Street at College Avenue. The value of the Sunshine Investment property — previously owned by Sue and Gary Geschke, Robert Paetz and Linda Paetz — is $148,500, Beeman said in an Aug. 5 email, and has been matched by Depot Society board member and donor Dr. Peter Hansen and his wife Carollee Hansen.

The society also signed an agreement with BNSF, owners of the depot originally built in 1929 by Northern Pacific Railroad, for conveyance of the depot and subsequently received a “Temporary Occupancy Permit.” Beeman said the permit allows the society’s contractors and their crews to safely enter the building.

“Both these first actions have been ‘underway’ for a long time, but we now have the signed agreements in hand and the Depot Society holds title to both the building and the land,” Beeman said on July 10. “This is a big deal in our world.”

The society also signed a contract with Walker Construction of Spokane for project management, and has a contract for the engineering work regarding the move with DB Davis Structural Movers of Seattle. A contract with DB Davis to do the actual move has yet to be signed, although Beeman said they will likely be the ones to perform the task. At the Aug. 1 Cheney Historical Preservation Commission meeting, Beeman told commissioners DB Davis believes they can move the depot as one whole unit, rather than the previously thought three sections.

In an Aug. 2 email, Beeman said the society also has a tentative agreement with the local BNSF roadmaster to potentially move the depot directly down the railroad siding tracks rather than having to move it via 1st Street through downtown. That plan still needs to be signed of by BNSF’s corporate office in Fort Worth, Texas, and details coordinated with local groups that use the siding such as Rosalia Producers, ADM and Highline Grain Growers.

“The formal approval for the moving plan will come from BNSF in Fort Worth, and they are requiring the detailed engineering plan that DB Davis is putting together,” Beeman said in the Aug. 2 email. The society expects that document this week and will forward it to BNSF as soon as possible.

Finally, Beeman told commissioners that the planned moving of the depot by Aug. 31 was not going to take place as requested by BNSF. The society is working with the railroad on a contract extension, based on the fact that that the moving contractor, DB Davis, could not fit it into their schedule to accommodate the original Aug. 31 timeline.

John McCallum can be reached at


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