Man makes last-minute effort to save Stafford Rail Depot

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STAFFORD, Kan. (KSNW) – The town of Stafford is struggling with how to save its historic railroad depot. The city says it has to be demolished, due to safety issues.

Demolition has already begun at the Stafford Rail Depot — windows have been removed and the building is scheduled for asbestos removal.

Now there’s a last-minute email campaign to try to save it. Clare Moore is a Wichita realtor, originally from Stafford. He wants to see the depot saved and converted into something useful for the community.

“It can be utilized as an economic impact and help for Stafford,” said Moore.

Moore said the depot needs to be saved because it is one of less than 200 left in Kansas. He believes transportation enhancement grants could help pay for restoration.

Stafford County officials said grants won’t be enough. The county looked into preserving the depot two years ago.

“Just to move it, I think, was just over $100,000. The grant programs we’re aware of wouldn’t pay for that, and we didn’t have local funds substantial enough to pay for that,” said Carolyn Dunn, executive director of Stafford County Economic Development.

The effort to save the depot is getting attention from the Historic Preservation Alliance of Wichita and Sedgwick County which is sending emails to Warren Buffett. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, owns Burlington Northern & Santa Fe railway, which owns the depot.

Officials told KSN, “While we recognize the connection some feel to the depot, protecting the safety of our employees and the general public is paramount and precluded any future use of the building.”

The BNSF spokeswoman didn’t give KSN a specific date of the demolition, but she said it will happen in the coming weeks.