Changes have recently come down the track in terms of the operation of Ogden’s historic Union Station.

City officials and the Union Station Foundation have come to an agreement in which the city has taken over management and operation of the station. Prior to this agreement, the foundation was responsible for day-to-day operations and maintenance of the historic building, as well as operations of the museums housed there.

Ogden City Mayor Mike Caldwell says this new agreement is a positive thing for the city and the foundation, noting that since 2004, the foundation has been dedicated to keeping the station up and running. This has proved to be increasingly difficult as the nearly 100-year-old building is in need of major maintenance and upkeep.

“We needed to make sure this community icon was being taken care of, and that it could be part of the community for years and decades to come,” Caldwell says.

This new agreement will allow the non-profit Union Station Foundation to concentrate its efforts on running and maintaining the station’s four museums, as well as focus on educational projects and fundraising.

The Ogden City Council recently approved a budget amendment appropriating $567,000 to Union Station’s annual operating budget. The station will be a division with the city’s Community and Economic Development Department, Caldwell said.

With the budget approval, the city can now create a priority list and action plan for repairs and maintenance projects Caldwell said. The administration is currently looking to address general facility maintenance and upkeep, functional needs, such as electrical and plumbing, and exterior and interior improvements.

In 1976, Union Pacific Railroad Company and Southern Pacific Transportation Company donated the Union Station, depot, annex and buildings to Ogden City, while maintaining ownership of the land the station is built on. The term of that land lease was 50 years and will expire in 2026. At that time, it may either be renegotiated or the city may buy the land, Caldwell said. He said Union Pacific has shown interest in selling the land.

Caldwell says city leaders and the foundation hope to see the station become an even bigger part of the downtown Ogden community. There are several models around the country that Ogden can look to in terms of developing Union Station. Denver has a station that has been revitalized and made into a real community draw. Urban design professionals are looking at Union Station and giving the city some ideas for how to make it an even more vibrant part of the community.

Caldwell said the city is grateful for the work that the foundation has done and will continue to do to keep the station going.

“They have a big group of volunteers. Those volunteers are the lifeblood of Union Station. That’s one of the big things they will continue to be involved in.”

With its close proximity to Historic 25th Street, Union Station has a lot of potential to be even more of a community gathering place.

“That area is unique and vibrant and eclectic,” Caldwell says. It really is a destination,” he says, noting how it’s important to maintain the station because it plays such a vital part in the history of Ogden.

An icon in the Ogden community, the current Union Station building was completed in 1924. The first station was built in 1869, but it soon was deemed inadequate, so another station was built in its place in 1889. It included 33 hotel rooms, a restaurant, barbershop and other conveniences. That building was severely damaged in a fire in 1923 and later condemned. The cornerstone for the current building was laid on Nov. 22, 1924.