Depot on track to restore veterans, building alike

The historic train depot in downtown Grand Junction needs an estimated $2.6 million in restoration.

Wendy Hoffman believes there is no better group of people to help Grand Junction’s historic train depot than veterans who also could use some help.

Hoffman, who serves as the local and national president of Blue Star Mothers and lives in Grand Junction, started Operation Revamp Inc. with that goal in mind.

The 501(c)(3) organization aims to purchase the vacant depot and hire military veterans to restore the building. The veterans will learn restoration skills from experts and will be able to carry on their talents to other jobs, Hoffman said.

Once the restoration is complete, Hoffman plans to use parts of the building for art therapy for veterans and their families. She has a degree in fine arts and has used art therapy herself.

Hoffman, whose son is in the military, said veterans and their families can use art creation as a cathartic experience.

“There’s an analogy that if you spit in a cup, you don’t take it back. You’re releasing all this stuff, and you don’t have to take it back or have a conscious recognition to let it out,” she said.

Other parts of the building could be used for “mini museums” and a gift shop where art created in the depot could be sold, Hoffman said.

Getting support hasn’t been hard, but getting money has been.

Hoffman said some people are cautious about donating before the building is purchased, something that could take as much as $750,000. Renovations inside and out are estimated to cost another $2.6 million.

Hoffman and three other board members need $100,000 to make a down payment on the building.

So far, they’ve raised $16,000. All but $1,000 came from a loan Hoffman procured.

“I think it’s really going to take off. It’s just that first step is getting it purchased,” she said.


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