When the world’s largest operating steam locomotive came to Boise Sunday, it was banned from parking at the most beautiful Depot in the Northwest. So much for promoting rail transportation.
The historic “Challenger” was relegated to a stretch of weed-lined track west of the Depot because a private party had rented the Spanish mission-styled landmark. The GUARDIAN finds it a tragedy that a historic train can’t even park at the Depot because the city keeps it closed to the public in order to pay for upkeep by renting the building as a catering hall.
Where is the logic? The public pays for a wonderful building, but in order to maintain it, the city has to close it to the public that bought it! If the City can’t staff the Depot, sell it to someone who can afford to run it full time. Putting the PArk Department in the position of being a catering agent is unfair to all concerned.
The very first posting on the GUARDIAN was about the public being locked out of the Depot we all worked to “save” when the city purchased it.
Here is an excerpt from what they told a reader in May:
“We hope to have Staff assigned to the Depot on a regular bases (sic) by mid June for at least 3 days a week W-F from 1pm to 5pm. Since January, Parks & Recreation facility reservation staff has assisted with scheduling over 135 events at the Depot for 2005, and have provided scheduled tours on a weekly basis.”
Nearly all of those events were PRIVATE. Boise Depot remains closed to the public except 2-6 p.m. Mondays and serves as a rental hall for PRIVATE EVENTS. They never staffed it during the busy summer tourist season.
In fairness to the Park Department–we do like to be fair even though they tend to mislead–the U.P. suffered from a major communications failure on the visit. We are told the City had tried “for years” to get the Challenger to visit, especially since the Depot is 80 years old this year. Apparently the railroad never notified the city of the impending visit.
We think weddings can go to the country clubs and hotels. Leave the Depot open to the public and tourists.
Perhaps a city council candidate can make this a cause during the upcoming election.
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