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Burleigh County commissioner wants Wilton train depot saved

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BISMARCK (AP) -- Burleigh County commissioner Mark Armstrong is hoping to save the 101-year-old former Wilton train depot, which was condemned after last year's flooding and would require extensive and costly renovations.

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The depot handled train passengers for Wilton from the early 1910s to the late 1940s and was moved in the late 1980s to below the Memorial Bridge, Armstrong said. It also once housed the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation office and the Lewis and Clark Riverboat ticket office.

Armstrong said he thinks the building should be restored, and that he hopes it could again house the foundation and riverboat ticket offices.

"We don't have a lot of 100-year-old buildings," said Armstrong. He said he has contacted a friend in Oregon who specializes in restoring historical buildings.

Tracy Potter, director of the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation, said he doesn't think restoring the depot is practical.

"The day the building was moved, it was no longer eligible to be on the National Registry of Historical Places," Potter said. "Since it moved from Wilton to the Memorial Bridge, there have been too many changes to it."

The city commission is scheduled to consider putting the building's demolition out for bid Tuesday, said city administrator Bill Wocken. He said the city requested Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement money to restore it, but the agency offered just $8,000, which is not nearly enough to restore it to new building standards.

Building code requires the restored building to be 2 feet over the new flood plain.

Wocken said the city would be open to allowing somebody to move the building away.

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