13 December 2015

Celebration Time

While the blog has been inactive for quite some time, volunteers at the Depot have not! The big news is that last week, the HPG received TWO grants: $5000 from Idaho Heritage Trust and $24,900 from the Inland Northwest Community Foundation. Yes, you are reading correctly that we now have over $30,000 to work with in getting the upstairs ready for tenants. I say over $30,000 because at the well-attended Beargrass concert last night, even more donations from generous attendees poured in! As Jim West has said enthusiastically, that means we can hire contractors to finish the upstairs work. No doubt Becca West likes the idea that Jim will not be wearing out his tired knees any further working on the various jobs upstairs.

The upstairs now seems close to being very classy office space. Walls are textured and painted in the hallway and many of the rooms, and some of the beautiful doors Jim found in Portland have been installed. Jesse Glassman is beginning work on the floors and a decision has been made to lay carpet in the hallway to cut costs. The carpet might also cut hallway noise, so it's a good choice. Jesse did the downstairs floors, so we have confidence the upstairs ones will be equally beautiful. And the light fixtures awaiting installation will cap off the upscale feel of the hallway and offices spaces.

Speaking of office spaces, one tenant is chomping at the bit to move in by year's end, although we aren't quite ready. He wants two spaces and another person has asked for space in the spring. The reality is that the dream of the Depot being an economic development incentive is now coming true! Just across the tracks, the new pellet mill is taking shape, meaning the old mill site is coming into its own. Having Karen Rohn and Blackbird back in the downstairs adds to the feeling that this part of downtown is coming together. The Company Store, currently located in the ticket office, has a few new items, by the way, including beautiful custom coffee mugs by Andy Sewell. How about some beer mugs next, featuring our great logo?

The Depot is enjoying more community support than ever before, and last night's Beargrass concert drew a packed house and plenty of good dancing in the freight room. As Shane and Alane Watkins and the band belted out a number of great songs - even some train songs- many people also asked to tour the upstairs to see what's happening. Now people are beginning to see what the HPG members have envisioned all along- a beautifully restored community hub, just like the old days! It's interesting that what was once planned as an elevated office in the freight room is now a great little stage for musical and theater venues!

This post would not be complete without some good words for the steady volunteers who have quietly done so many construction tasks to get us this far: Jim West, Bob Behal and Barb West have been mainstays, often assisted by Kenny and Dave Cada, Tim Moore and Bill Warner. There might be others who work quietly on days I have not visited, so my apologies if I have left anyone out. Elaine Johnson frequently shows up to help at events, and Hal Van De Vord helps Karen Rohn with Company Store duties. During the Company Town Christmas yesterday, Jim West also recruited Hal and Roger Ferrell to help with Jim's novel Junior Engineer School, which graduated a number of community kids who now know much more about trains the operation of model trains!

December 12th was quite a day in the HPG's history. Thank you to one and all who capped off a great week!