A memorial stands at N12785 Fernwall Avenue, marking the place where the Worden Brethren Church once stood, prior to a late ‘50s tornado. A similar memorial made of bricks could grace the site of the depot if the building on First Avenue is deemed unsavable. Photo by Joseph Back.
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Public works head: Any possibility to save depot could hinge on a structural engineer’s inspection

If any chance exists to save the depot, it could well hinge on the assessment of a structural engineer.

This, in summary, is the report of public works operator-in-charge John Hoel, after the tornado December 15 tore its new roof off, put in place back in 2006 to protect the 1906 structure from the elements, with high success until the tornado.

“If saving the building is an option, I believe a structural engineer would need to assess the building to see if that is even an option,” Hoel related to the Council in his latest bi-monthly report, dated for December 21. “Unfortunately, due to the extent of the damage sustained to the building it may need to be demolished.” With Hoel and the Mayor meeting with the insurance adjustor December 23 to look at the depot, the prospect of demolition has separate options.

“I have spoken with Ryan Westaby regarding the possible demo and there are some options we can look at to cut costs,” Hoel wrote the Council. “Ryan said if he can separate the brick form teh wood there would be a considerable cost savings as all of the bricks would not need to be hauled to the landfill and could be hauled to Haas to be crushed, the City wouyld only charged be charged for hauling, not disposal. I have also heard rumors of possibly savin some of the bricks to build a memorial out of them.” So what’s teh word from City Hall?

Waiting on the railroad. “We are still waiting on the railroad information,” City Clerk/Treasurer Nicole Thiel shared Monday. While someone stopped by to take pictures Decmber 23, the building is in the rail- road's right-of-way–and that means the final word awaits direction from Canadian National.

“The building is in teh right-of-way for the railroad, so we can’t do anything without them telling us to,” Thiel said.

In the meantime, a memorial would have local precedent, as a church destroyed in a late 50s tornado on Fernwall Avenue, is now memorialized with a stone marker where it once stood.

December 29, 2021