Mary Potter believes that Blue Springs got an early Christmas present this year – to the tune of $25,000.

Mary Potter believes that Blue Springs got an early Christmas present this year – to the tune of $25,000.

The hefty donation doesn’t exist quite yet, but an anonymous Blue Springs couple will make it very real if organizers behind saving the  Chicago and Alton Depot in the downtown area come up with $16,000.

“It’s safe to say, I think, that the city got an early Christmas present,” Potter said Tuesday. “I just can’t believe it.”

Organizers already have $4,000, most of which has come through various fundraisers and individual contributions since Kansas City Southern announced it was planning to demolish the station earlier this summer.

The city and organizers were able to get an extension until July 29, 2012, and if they fail to raise the funds to move the building, demolition will begin July 30.

This month, the anonymous couple signed a memorandum of understanding for what they call a “money match” of $25,000. A local attorney has been retained to represent both parties.

Potter said the couple was impressed with efforts to save the depot. By pledging the amount, the couple wanted to inspire others to come forward and donate their time and resources to help the cause.

“I couldn’t believe all of the zeros after the 25,” Potter said. “I had no idea there were other individuals who felt as strongly as I do about saving this important piece of our Blue Springs history. The depot represents why Blue Springs moved from the valley of Woods Chapel to the top of the hill when the Chicago and Alton Railroad laid the tracks and built a depot in 1879.”

 Since early August, volunteers and supporters have raised about $4,000 through donations, two silent auctions and one fundraiser.

Preliminary plans call for moving the depot to Central Park, located in the downtown area. The estimated cost for the move is about $16,000, according to Potter. The $16,000, plus the existing $4,000 will satisfy the requirements presented by the donors. With KC Southern’s contribution of $5,000 and the $25,000, that’s $30,000 for exterior and interior renovation costs.

Potter said the society has agreed to hire Patton, Inc. to move the depot from its current location on downtown Main Street to Central Park, which is located in the downtown area east of the railroad tracks and south of Walnut Street. Currently the park is undeveloped except for the community garden that began in fall 2011.

The payment to the mover, Doyle Patton, is $16,000.  Replacing the concrete slab foundation will cost approximately $4,000.  

Other updates include:

Keith Albarelli, a master electrician, has volunteered to do all electric wiring, and Zucca Roofers of Lake Tapawingo has volunteered to replace the composition roof.

After these are finished, the stucco will complete the outside. The interior renovation will then follow.

Local contractor Steve Greer has volunteered to oversee foundation forms, re-bar, concrete, gravel and grading work, according to Potter. Several other individuals and companies have indicated they would donate services, Potter said.

The group also needs a skilled plumber, an insulation company, and outside painting company to volunteer their skills and materials at a reduced cost to finish the outside of the Depot.

Potter said the depot group also has spoken with the Blue Springs School District about construction students helping with the concrete slab, which would be overseen by professional concrete layers.

Since the Historical Society is nonprofit, donations are tax deductible.

Potter is asking supporters to attend the Blue Springs City Council presentation on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Howard L. Brown Public Safety Building, 1103 S.W. Smith St. This will be the meeting to determine whether the Depot gets approval to be moved to Central Park. Potter is asking supporters to wear either red or white or a Chicago and Alton, Blue Springs, Missouri, sweatshirt to show support.    

Monetary donations should be mailed to Blue Springs Historical Society Depot, P.O. Box 762, Blue Springs, Mo, 64013.