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Green River is optimistic as the town discusses the future of a historic landmark

A commuter train on a vintage image of the Green River Depot and Rail Yard
Flickr -https://www.flickr.com/photos/upnorthmemories/5126388612
Green River WY Depot and Rail Yard Union Pacific Streamliner crossing Phot by CH Ruth A and T Card Services Cheyenne WY Card

The City of Green River has put the future of a historic train station up for public discussion. City officials, community members, business leaders, state officials, and an EPA representative attended the open house on July 18. Ideas were exchanged about what the space could one day be used for.

Once a hub of transportation, the Green River train depot has been out of use since the late 1950s. City Council member George Jost says there are numerous possibilities for the space. However, the town is in the very early stages of designing a plan.

"We as a City Council haven't decided what we want to do. We haven't even talked about it. There are a lot of hoops to go through before we get anywhere," said Jost.

One of the first hoops will be restoring the 1910 building to meet 2023 standards. Jost estimated that it would take two or three years of refurbishment before the building can withstand the harsh Wyoming elements, deter animals from entering, and adhere to building code requirements. Before any restoration work can commence, funding must be secured. Additionally, in 20 years, the lease for the rail station will be over. The City of Green River will have to negotiate a new lease with Union Pacific (U.P.), the current depot owners. Jost was confident that the negotiation of a new lease will be the easier side of the larger process.

"We want to negotiate with that longer lease,” Jost said. “I think the city can do that. And then after that lease is finished, I think we can probably find ways to go forward."

While renovation and legal negotiation make up a large portion of any renewal project, what brought more than 100 community members out was the open house discussion. As people toured the depot, there were talks of turning the station into apartments, a restaurant, a brewery, a wedding venue, and Jost himself commented, "I heard the county museum wants to move down there."

The residents of Green River have a lot of ideas, and the space is large enough to construct more than one new attraction.

"It's actually two buildings,” Jost said. "One was an office building that U.P. had built there. And then the rest of it’s the railroad terminal… and then some of it is upstairs."

While Green River residents are optimistic about what a project like this might bring, Jost is equally optimistic about the potential for the broader southwest Wyoming region, stating, "You hear a lot of projects coming to Buffalo, projects out of Granger. [Local] mines have expanded more than anybody ever expected them to. So who knows what's going to happen?"

The Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition and Sweetwater County Land Use Department have been working on the Middle Baxter Road Industrial Development Project after being awarded a state grant in 2019. Between new community spaces like the Green River train depot and industrial expansion nearby, Jost felt excited about the future development of the area.

"It is a really promising time for the town,” Josh said.

Jordan Uplinger was born in NJ but has traveled since 2013 for academic study and work in Oklahoma, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He gained experience in a multitude of areas, including general aviation, video editing, and political science. In 2021, Jordan's travels brought him to find work with the Wyoming Conservation Corps as a member of Americorps. After a season with WCC, Jordan continued his Americorps service with the local non-profit, Feeding Laramie Valley. His deep interest in the national discourse on class, identity, American politics and the state of material conditions globally has led him to his current internship with Wyoming Public Radio and NPR.

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