Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Architect selection process nearing completion

The selection process for the architectural firm that will be responsible for drafting the construction plans and documents for the machine shop and new model railroad exhibit building is nearing completion. Staff with the City of Sioux City, fiscal and administrative agent for the project, will make a selection recommendation to the Iowa Department of Transportation and the City Council. The formal selection will be announced once both entities approve the bid.

This next round of construction and historic preservation work will take place this summer and fall, with an anticipated project ending date of January 15, 2010. The project is being funded through numerous grant programs and private donations. We are continuing our effort s to raise money for this next phase, which is estimated at $1-million for renovation costs and new building construction. Donations to the project can be sent to the SHRA, P O Box 1355, Sioux City, IA 51102.

We will be releasing preliminary drawings of the new model railroad/civil engineering exhibit center within the next 30 days.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

SHRA to host public information meeting on Corliss project

The Siouxland Historical Railroad Association (SHRA) will host a public information meeting on Tuesday evening, February 17, 2009 to discuss the preservation of the Corliss stationary steam engine located in the KD Station. The meeting will run from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and will be held at Western Iowa Tech Community College, Room B-138. The public is asked to use Parking Lot 3 and Building Entrance number 10.

Volunteer project managers will be on hand to discuss the salvage processes involved with removing the circa 1890-1910 Corliss Engine and two ammonia compressors (Worthington and Frick). The informational meeting will also cover the processes for transporting the engine and compressors to the Milwaukee Railroad Shops and the displaying of all components as part of the STEAM Locomotion exhibit. Project managers will utilize a Powerpoint presentation to illustrate the current condition and size of the Corliss stationary steam engine.

Railroad museum starts silver anniversary fund-raising drive

The Siouxland Historical Railroad Association (SHRA) is starting its silver anniversary fund-raising campaign with the goal of generating $25,000 for two new improvement projects at the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District in Sioux City. The new fund-raising campaign “Give ‘em a High Five for 25 years” is being launched on Saturday, Valentine’s Day. The SHRA’s founding volunteers held their first organizational meeting on February 14, 1984.

The “Gvie ‘em a High Five for 25 years” fund-raising campaign was announced Thursday afternoon by SHRA president Jon Wagoner through a press release. Wagoner reports the campaign is built around the theme of honoring volunteers who have contributed nearly a quarter of a million volunteer hours since the SHRA’s founding in 1984. Over that twenty-five years the volunteers have worked passionately to restore Sioux City’s landmark steam locomotive states Wagoner. In addition, the volunteers have contributed nearly 170,000 hours of labor in rescuing the former Milwaukee Railroad Shops from demolish to the creation of a park-like historic site.

Wagoner states the “Give ‘em a High Five for 25 years” theme is based on the long-standing tradition of sending a birthday gift in the amount of $5 and the gesture of High Fiving an individual when recognizing them for a good deed. According to Wagoner, “we found great enthusiasm for the Send a Lincoln $5 campaign that we have redesigned the concepts into this new High Five effort.”

Money raised through its “Give ‘em a High Five for 25 years” is earmarked for the construction of a new volunteer workshop area and the construction and installation of new public restrooms. The funds raised through the “Give ‘em a High Five for 25 years” will be used to match a federal grant award from the National Scenic Byways Program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Iowa Department of Transportation.

The campaign earmarks $10,000 for construction of a new volunteer workshop area in bays 5 and 6 of the historic district’s roundhouse building. According to Wagoner’s printed statement, the volunteers lost their workshop area during last year’s reconstruction of bay 1 in the roundhouse building. Because the new construction is earmarked for exhibit galleries, the volunteers have been displaced and are in need of a workshop area that is heated so they can work year round on locomotives, rolling stock and artifacts. Design plans for the new workshop area call for a machining area and a wood working shop.

The Siouxland Historical Railroad Association owns and operates the 31.5-acre Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District in Sioux City’s north Riverside neighborhood. The historic district is located adjacent to the Big Sioux River and the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway – State Highway 12, approximately two miles south of Stone State Park. The Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District is open to the public on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Last year the historic district had an attendance of nearly 10,000 visitors/visits.