By Carlos Correa

STOCKTON (CBS13) — A big decision is expected to be made on a historic building that once saw thousands of travelers who made their way from Chicago to Oakland with stops in Stockton.

Members of the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission are scheduled to vote on the future of the Western Pacific Depot.

Stockton resident Rudi Blondia is working to help preserve the city’s rich history.

“There are plenty of opportunities. It’s beautiful, historic,” he said.

Blondia is already restoring an old fire station in downtown. He says the same passion and hard work that is going toward revitalizing that structure can also be used to help save the depot.

“It’s so beautiful that we checked if this was available when we moved into Stockton because it has a unique character, clearly a historic building,” he said.

The depot was built in the 1900s, and in 2008 was bought by the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission. The group is now preparing to vote on the future of the site after two recent fires turned it into an unsafe and dangerous building.

“This station was thought of as the Disneyland of train stations,” said Stockton City Councilwoman Christina Fugazi.

The Save Downtown Stockton Foundation is looking to salvage some of the items inside the depot for historical purposes; items like a fireplace mantle, the women’s restroom ceiling and floor tile and the exterior Western Pacific logo.

“We should keep what we can from the building, and we’re able to identify those elements that we wish to save and place them somewhere so that we can incorporate those into a future project,” said Fugazi.

Many concerned citizens are expected to attend the railroad commission meeting, and they’re hoping others interested in saving a part of Stockton’s history will join them.

“Everybody’s input counts. Every voice, nothing is too little to bring to tomorrow’s meeting,” said Stockton resident, Amy Bakersville.

The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission meets Friday to vote on the future of the building.

The meeting will take place at the Cabral station on East Channel Street in Stockton. It starts at 8 a.m. and is open to the public.


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