By KAROLYN GEPHART
As Pearland prepares for the city’s 125th anniversary, the past and future too are part of the planning.
The Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is studying one area of the city’s past and present, hoping that in the immediate future they will get to restore and preserve the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad Depot for the purpose of creating an attraction for visitors and residents.
The depot is one of the city’s oldest historic sites.
The depot is located next to Pearland City Hall at 3501 Liberty Drive. It has been vacant since 2008 but is maintained by the City of Pearland Public Works Department.
The mission of the Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau is to market and promote Pearland as a destination. Creating a museum, preserving the railroad depot and Pearland’s history, provides an attraction for visitors to experience and learn, according to Donald Hayes, Chairman of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee for the Restoration of the Pearland Depot.
The CVB is working with interested groups, the Pearland Historical Society and the Depot Citizens Committee.
The Advisory Committee has 27 members composed of Pearland residents and businesses such as Keep Pearland Beautiful, Pearland Chamber of Commerce, UHCL Pearland, Pearland Alliance for Arts & Culture, State Representative Thompson’s office, ValuTeachers, Boy Scouts of America Troop 404, Triad Retail Construction, to name a few.
The groups working on the project hopes to show progress by the time the city begins celebrating the historic anniversary of the city.
The Historical Society and Depot Citizens Committee are interested and supportive of turning this depot into a full-service museum complex with interactive curation and exhibits about the history of the railroad and Pearland.
According to Hayes, the museum would display artifacts, interpretative exhibits and educational interactions for visitors and residents of all ages. A second component is included in this renovation due to ADA compliant restrooms and gathering place for groups, when visiting the museum.
The Advisory Committee members are currently talking with business owners and members of the community, with discussions mainly focused around the exchange/donation of services in support of the restoration project. A public fundraising effort is pending, awaiting the formal completion of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CVB as the project lead and the Pearland Historical Society as the non-profit fundraising entity.
“Once that agreement is finalized, we can begin a capital campaign, the launch of fundraising projects such as the sale of memorial brick pavers, the seeking of grant assistance and so on,” Hayes said. “I’m hoping that the city’s celebration of its 125th anniversary next year provides some additional momentum for us and that we make some strides early in the year that pay off by Fall 2019.”
To get more information on ways to donate or on the progress of the project, email [email protected]