'It is our responsibility': Evart Depot to get facelift

Council to seek bids for new paint job

Peeling paint can be seen on the exterior of the Evart Depot building. The city is seeking bid proposals for the exterior restoration of the building. (Herald Review file photo)

Peeling paint can be seen on the exterior of the Evart Depot building. The city is seeking bid proposals for the exterior restoration of the building. (Herald Review file photo)

EVART — The Evart Depot will soon be getting a facelift.

The Evart City Council approved a request from City Manager Sarah Dvoracek to seek proposals for the exterior restoration of the building at its Dec. 7 meeting.

Dvoracek told the council there has been little maintenance done to the building since its renovation in 1995. Waiting any longer to rehab the exterior would result in additional costs for the city if they need to replace siding, she added.

The work that is being solicited will include, cleaning all siding and trim as needed to remove all dirt, mold and mildew; scraping and sanding all loose and peeling areas; priming all surfaces; and applying two coats of paint to all siding, trim and decks.

“The depot is in desperate need of a paint job, since it has not been upgraded in several years,” Dvoracek said. “We have discussed rehab of the entire building, but something has to be done sooner rather than later and I believe this is the first step.”

Councilman Dan Elliott expressed concern the wording of the bid proposal may limit the number of bids they are able to receive, and that they may come in very high.

“My concern is that the bid spec is limiting bids to those that have experience in preservation projects and that we will get bids that are very high,” Elliott said. “My recommendation is to go ahead with the bids and see what happens but be ready to reject them if they are too high.”

Elliott suggested they look at the entire building conversion as a whole and create a bid packet for the complete project with the painting as part of it.

“We might be in a position, at that point, where we are able to go to the USDA for a loan or grant funds for the whole project,” he said.

Assistant City Manager Mark Wilson reiterated that the current condition of the exterior of the building is extremely poor right now and waiting to move forward with painting could lead to further deterioration.

“There are boards that are exposed to the weather and every year it is in this condition, it continues to deteriorate,” Wilson said. “We are losing more and more of the historic nature of the building the longer we wait to move forward on the rehabilitation.”

Dvoracek added that the Depot is a gathering place for the community, and it is incumbent upon the city to preserve the building.

“Our concerts, farmers market and other community events take place at the depot,” she said. “It is our responsibility to care for our beloved depot and moving forward we will include a preservation maintenance plan within our capital improvement plan so that the depot will receive the maintenance it needs.”

Council approved moving forward with the bid proposals for painting the exterior and see what kind of quotes they receive.

For several months, the city has been working to renovate the Depot with the goal of moving the city offices back into the building.

At a meeting in November, council approved a bid proposal from Mr. Electric in Mt. Pleasant to install IT network infrastructure throughout the building.

Wilson said at the time that the previous system of wiring consisted of cables strung across the floor and that moving back into the building would require a more permanent network be installed.

In July 2019, the council appointed an historic district study committee to pursue the possibility of getting the depot designated as an historic district and placed on the National Register of Historic Places so that the building could be renovated and, once again, be used for city offices.

The city has since established a Historic District Commission, a requirement of getting on the National Register of Historic Places. The commission has been tasked with looking into possible funding options for the restoration and preservation of the building as a historical site.