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Granby expands railroad museum’s lease as upgrades continue

The lease for the Moffat Road Railroad Museum will soon be extended and expanded. The museum has been working on upgrades since a mysterious donor pledged millions of dollars to the improvements.
Amy Golden / agolden@skyhinews.com

The Moffat Road Railroad Museum has been working on improvements since a mysterious donor started supporting the museum’s efforts. Now, Granby has approved a 30 year lease for the museum to continue its work.

The museum approached the Granby Board of Trustees on Tuesday to extend the museum’s lease with the town and expand its footprint onto more town owned property. The lease, approved unanimously with certain conditions, expands the museum’s land north from the current set up while leaving rent at $10 a year.

Dave Naples, executive director of the Moffat Road Railroad Museum, previously spoke to the board in January about his plans to expand. An anonymous benefactor has committed millions of dollars to the railroad museum, and the money will allow for an expansion that Naples has called the “Disneyland approach.”

Already, the museum has made numerous improvements on the land leased from the town, and Naples expects to open a new visitor’s center on July 4.

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The master plan for the Moffat Road Railroad Museum details the planned expansion.
Courtesy Town of Granby

The land Naples plans to expand onto includes property zoned for both industrial use and open space. Industrial zoning does not allow for use by right for museums, but does permit conditional use permits. Open space does not permit use by right or conditional use permits for museums.

To remedy this, the town approved an ordinance allowing use by right for museums on open space. There was some consideration of adding a use by right to industrial land for museums as well, but board members and the public raised issues with that.

Trustees requested some changes to the lease for the property before it can be signed. Town staff indicated that Naples and the anonymous donor are eager to move forward with work on the expanded land, so the board authorized signing the lease after these changes have been made.

One issue trustees brought up was equipment on the property that they want to see “cleaned up.” Naples told town staff he could build a maintenance shed to store those items once the lease is approved.

The board moved to tie the conditions of the lease to expected improvements at the museum and added a requirement that the museum be open on a regular basis. All trustees reiterated their excitement to see what Naples has described as a “world-class model railroad museum.”

In other business:

  • The board saw the town’s audited budget report, which showed no major issues with Granby’s financials. The auditor complimented the town board on their sizable reserves that put them in a much better position than other municipalities facing the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.
  • The trustees heard a proposal for some channeling work on approximately 1,200 feet of the Fraser River in Kaibab Park. The work would be free to the town and help improve the health of Fraser River in conjunction with other diversion projects already in the works. The board members unanimously gave their support to the project.
  • The town board approved a resolution to temporarily postpone certain fees, interest and charges related to water service for failure to pay. This means water service would not be shut off for a failure to pay, either. The resolution is intended to assist those facing economic hardship due to the pandemic. Customers interested in delaying their water bill payments should contact town staff.

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