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Massive $1.6 Million Preservation Project Receives Funding Boost and Now Seeks Community Participation

March 8, 2018

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The Sunderland Foundation $500,000 Gift Helps Highlight Critical Importance of Preservation and Sustainability of Unique Union Station History

Roy Inman Photographs©

Kansas City (March 8, 2018)   Today, Union Station officials announced a generous gift of $500,000 from the Sunderland Foundation to help preserve and protect the expansive and historic Union Station exterior surfaces.  In total, $750,000 has now been raised toward the $1.6 million project already underway and scheduled for completion in mid-2018.  Wide participation from the Kansas City community is now being sought to help close the remaining funding gap.

“You’ve seen the scaffolding erected around our historic train depot since last summer,” Bob Regnier, Union Station Board Chairman, said.  “As warmer daytime temperatures return, you’ll also see the return of dozens of restoration experts working to repair, clean and preserve Kansas City’s beloved monument.  We’re being proactive with our efforts and this generous gift from The Sunderland Foundation will go a long way toward this vital project.”

The Sunderland Foundation invests in the places and spaces where nonprofits do their work - places where young minds grow and thrive, and where communities come together for celebration and inspiration.  Union Station is indeed such a place.

“It has been said that preservation is simply having the good sense to hold on to things that are well designed, that link us with our past in a meaningful way, and have plenty of good use left in them,” says Kent Sunderland, President – The Sunderland Foundation. “By supporting this special project, we proudly contribute toward the sustainability of where Kansas City truly does connect for history, adventure, celebration and inspiration.”

Station officials expressed their profound gratitude to all those who’ve already contributed and now turn to the Greater Kansas City community to help close the final $100,000 funding gap.

“Major contributions like this from the Sunderland Foundation are essential in meeting our preservation obligations and funding goals,” George Guastello, Union Station president and CEO, said.  “Equally important is the participation of countless individual Kansas Citians and Union Station fans.  Every dollar matters and makes a real difference.  It’s the outpouring of financial support for projects like this that truly humble us.  With a grateful heart, we’re asking for a groundswell of individual donations to help complete this critical preservation priority.  We’re setting up a GoFundMe page to help make the final wave of donations as convenient as possible.” 

The project to clean, restore and protect nearly every inch of historic limestone surface, mortar line and caulked joint around the massive Station will require more than 15,600 hours of specialized effort. 

The work includes:

- Cleaning nearly 20 years of environmental accumulation and discoloration from the historic limestone exterior surfaces

- Repairing mortar joints (tuck point) between limestone blocks to maintain their aesthetic and structural integrity

- Caulking and sealing all other exterior joints to prevent water intrusion and deterioration

In terms of materials required, this project will use:

  • The equivalent of 1,200 tubes of caulking
    • The typical home requires 10 tubes to re-caulk windows, doors and seams
  • Over 1,000 bags of mortar
    • The typical brick or stone home requires 10 bags to tuck point
  • 1,100 gallons of Enviro Klean ReKlaim Limestone Cleaner (all applied by hand)
  • 1,300 gallons of Natural Stone Treatment Water Repellant to protect stone surfaces and slow future biological growth and staining.
  • 9,500 lineal feet of lead joint T-Cap installed to protect the skyward facing stone joints from water infiltration.

“Funding for this project is coming from a combination of sources including our Union Station Preservation Fund (accumulated from a $1.00 charge added to each Science City and Touring Exhibition ticket sold), operating income and this direct fundraising effort,” Jerry Baber, Union Station executive vice president and COO, said.  “Union Station is Kansas City’s historic home and will always hold that place of honor, as long as we collectively do what it takes to preserve and maintain it.”

Union Station is a 501(c)3 non-profit and receives no ongoing tax or public funding to support capital and operations.  Earned income and donations are the primary fiscal sources used to preserve and keep Union Station vibrant.

“Being good stewards to our donors is of the highest priority,” Guastello, said.  “Combining several preservation projects at once – even slightly ahead of schedule – is resulting in real savings which allows us to maximize the impact of our investment dollars.  Those interested in being part of preserving our historic monument should connect with Christy Nitsche, use the GoFundMe page being set up, or go online to unionstation.org for an additional donation option.  Caring for Kansas City’s historic home is indeed a proud and welcomed obligation we each have.”

Christy Nitsche – Director of Advancement & Community Engagement – can be reached at (816) 460-2208 or cnitsche@unionstation.org.

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Union Station Kansas City -- a 501(c)3 non-profit organization -- is a 103-year-old historical landmark and celebrated civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. Recently awarded “Favorite Attraction”, “Favorite Family-Friendly Attraction” and “Favorite Historic Attraction”, the organization -- dedicated to science education, celebration of community and preservation of history -- is home to Kansas City’s internationally-awarded Science City; the new Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium; the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre; the popular Model Railroad Experience; H&R Block City Stage featuring live theater, and a selection of unique shops and restaurants. Union Station is also home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses, and regularly hosts world-class traveling exhibitions. Awarded “Top Banquet Facilities in KC” by KC Business Journal, the facility annually hosts hundreds of community events and private celebrations of all sizes. Visit WWW.UNIONSTATION.ORG for details. Also, follow us on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and YOUTUBE.