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Friends of Old Fort Madison announce ambitious fundraising goal.

November 14, 2014

Fort Madison: One of the largest fundraising efforts ever to benefit the future of our main tourist attraction in Riverview Park was announced today by the Friends of Old Fort Madison Committee.

Since the replica of the old fort was constructed in 1980’...s the buildings have withstood nearly 30 years of weathering, dry rot, flooding, insect damage and wear and tear from the thousands of tourists that have visited the historic site.

The funds raised by this campaign may also be used if the original battlefield site is made available to the City of Fort Madison or a non-profit group interested in erecting a interpretation center/museum on that site with ample parking and a memorial garden for the twenty plus soldiers known buried in or near the old Fort from 1808-1813.

Hundreds of artifacts from the 1965 archeological digs and more recent digs are in the storage rooms of the State Archeologist in Iowa City and would be a goal of this committee to see a secure site available so they may be viewed by the public at an interpretive center/museum.

If each building of the replica fort was replaced this year an estimate from historic architects say we will need over $500,000 to redo the buildings within the stockade. The actual value of the entire structure, contents, etc. is estimated at $2,000,000, but that value greatly decreases if action is not taken to preserve the buildings, stockade and blockhouses before they crumble to the ground.

This fundraising effort started with letters mailed to over 300 business, retail, industry and community leaders and organizations today and the committee has of minimum goal of $100,000 by December 15, with the long range goal of five times that much by the end of 2015.

L.D. “Andy” Andrews acting chairman of the Friends of Old Fort Madison committee stated today the ultimate goal is to spin the committee off into its own 501-C-3 non-profit status and continue each year making the treasury grow so the entire reproduction complex in Riverview Park and future anticipated buildings will be available for tourists and researchers decades from now.

At the present time, until enough money is raised to pay for actual separate non-profit incorporation, if the committee decides to go that direction, the North Lee County Historical Society has agreed to be the sponsor of the volunteer support group as an arm of the Society and funds raised by this campaign will be used only for fundraising costs and projects to maintain the old Fort and battleground area.

The fundraising campaign is really urgent since some buildings have bowing walls, many rotten timbers, crumbling foundations, etc. and money is not even available to spray preservative on the exteriors of the existing structure. Letting the structure go much longer may jeopardize the safety of the volunteers and thousands of tourists that converge on Fort Madison each summer.

The next meeting of the Friends of Old Fort Madison committee will be held on Tuesday, November 25 at 7 p.m. at the Old AT&SF Depot and we are still taking charter members to our group of Old Fort Madison supporters. If you did not receive a letter but want to donate, your donation may be mailed to NLCHS (FOOFM), P.O. Box 285, Fort Madison, Ia. 52627 or dropped by the museum located in the old Santa Fe depot complex in downtown Fort Madison.

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The Santa Fe Railway depot complex is open for museum operation


FORT MADISON: 2013: The Santa Fe Railway depot complex is open for the museum operation with all threeSanta Fe buildings in use displaying a wide variety of our local historic artifacts, photographs documents and interactive items. The NLCHS is still leasing the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q) Railroad depot in Fort Madison. This additional space allowed us to expand our transportation and railroad history exhibits into the CB&Q depot.

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The Hawk Eye: 02/04/2010

Fort Madison railroad depot renovations to begin in spring

By NICHOLAS BERGIN

nbergin@thehawkeye.com

FORT MADISON -- Work to raise the historic Santa Fe Depot -- the first step in its renovation for use as an Amtrak Depot -- should begin this spring.

Mayor Steve Ireland has worked four years to make the project a reality, and hopes renovations will be complete by next spring.

The Amtrak depot will share the building with the North Lee County Historical Society, which has leased the depot from the city for more than 40 years.

The Amtrak depot now is housed in a utilitarian building in an industrial are near the city wastewater treatment plant. BNSF Railway Co., which owns that building, would like to see Amtrak move so it can use the space for offices.

Moving Amtrak would bring the more than 8,000 travelers a year to the scenic Riverview Park and city officials hope it will help increase traffic in the nearby downtown area.

The city still must work out a new contract with Amtrak. Ireland said he does not see any issues with getting that done.

Officials plan to elevate the depot and adjacent freight office at a cost of $972,000; perform interior renovations of the depot for $488,000; and construction of a passenger rail platform for $1.84 million.

The buildings will be raised more than 4 feet by constructing platforms. Doing so will protect the city's investment by raising the buildings a foot above the 500-year-floodplain.

During record flooding last summer, 39 inches of Mississippi River flowed through the Santa Fe depot.

The city has $3.2 million lined up for the project, including a $1.38 million Transportation Enhancement Grant from Iowa Department of Transportation; $173,395 from the city; $50,000 from BNSF Railway; $100,000 from the Fort Madison Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Commission; and a $1.13 million I-Jobs grant.

Also, Amtrak has indicated it could contribute up to $150,000 to the project, Mayor Steve Ireland said.

The Fort Madison City Council on Tuesday approved two contracts and a contract amendment related to raising the depot.

The contract amendment adds the I-Jobs grant to the list of existing project grants already being administered by Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission. The original contract cost the city $12,500 to be paid in three installments. The amendment adds an additional $10,000 to the cost.

The two contracts were signed with Klingner & Associates for engineering and architectural services. While engineering is mostly complete, the contracts are part of paperwork required by the I-Jobs grant.

Councilman Jason Huppert cast the lone vote against the contracts.

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