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All aboard! Lacey wants to bring train depot to future museum site

A model of the replica train depot was shown to Lacey City Council on Thursday. The city wants to build the depot near its future Lacey museum site.
A model of the replica train depot was shown to Lacey City Council on Thursday. The city wants to build the depot near its future Lacey museum site. rboone@theolympian.com

There won’t be a working train, but the city hopes to build a replica train depot near the future city museum site.

That was the $685,000 proposal Lacey City Council heard Thursday: a 1,350-square-foot train depot would be built in the area of Lacey Boulevard and Lebanon Street Southeast.

The idea is not only to enhance the nearby Woodland Trail, which sits on an old rail bed, but also to connect the past to the future Lacey Museum, said Jennifer Burbidge, parks and recreation director.

Years ago, the area was home to a depot that served a train that ran from the 1890s until the structure closed in the early 1930s. The depot was torn down in the 1940s. Lacey Plywood Co. sprouted on the site in the 1950s until it closed in 1988.

The new depot would have picnic tables for those who walk the trail or visit the museum. The site also might become home to a train-themed play structure and possibly a water feature, Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder said.

The city could seek bids on the project as early as March, and the train depot could open in summer 2019.

However, not everyone was happy with the price tag. Although the city has earmarked $425,000 for a total project cost of $685,000, Councilman Lenny Greenstein called the cost outrageous, especially for such a small structure.

“The numbers seem ludicrous,” Greenstein said.

Burbidge and City Manager Scott Spence said they are working to keep costs under control. One way to do that is to build spaces for two bathrooms, but to open it with one unisex bathroom first, followed by the second one at a later date.

The city paid $950,000 for the land and new museum property in 2016.

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