Hall of Fame land purchase

By Mike Kroll


Remember when the National Railroad Hall of Fame was planning on building their facility near the East Main Street exit of I-74? Well that plan included not only the donation of Kiwanis Park land by the city necessitating the relocation of the equestrians to Lake Storey but also the purchase of three lots from David Simpson adjacent to the Holiday Inn Express. The NRRHoF paid for options to purchase the three lots for a total of $330,000 and earlier this month they exercised those options.

According to Julie King, executive director of the NRRHoF, purchase of these lots does not signal another change in the organization's building plans. “We remain committed to a downtown Galesburg location but this simply represented a very good business decision for us. We get to leverage some state grant funds that would have otherwise been lost soon to purchase land appraised at $385,000 for only $222,000 after the grant is applied. Nothing forced us to exercise the option but our board just really liked the math. We expect this to be an excellent investment.”

“We are very pleased with the wonderful level of cooperation we have received by city officials and downtown businesses but we remain in our research and planning phase. Right now we, in conjunction with Campbell & Company, are developing our fund raising plan with a focus on identifying prospects. This is a tedious and time-consuming process as we develop a plan but it is so important that we get this right before taking the next step.”

King was reluctant to predict exactly when her group will actually begin actively fund raising or start working out particulars with their design consultant BRC. She did say that it would 2009 at the earliest before the group would be prepared to commence the next public step in bringing the Hall of Fame to fruition.