Depot (Evanston) Locals Pitch in to Restore Town
In 1868, Union Pacific rail came to Evanston kicking off years of
economic growth and prosperity for the region. The downtown grew quickly around the new
depot and became a prime location for shopping, eating and touring in Wyoming. Over 100
years later, after the railroad left town, a natural-gas boom caused explosive growth. As
the population quickly tripled and suburban sprawl gained ground, business in the downtown
started to fade. When the boom collapsed, so did the city.
But the citizens of Evanston and city officials are fighting to preserve their history
and prepare for the future. Recognizing the value of a historic downtown, the city spent
13 years transforming an old Union Pacific depot into a community center with a public
square. The town has also embraced its cultural resources which include the biggest
Chinatown in the Rocky Mountains. Residents, many of whom are descended from Chinese
railroad workers, are proud of the work the community is doing to restore turn-of-the
century buildings in the neighborhood.
What's perhaps most impressive about the efforts in Evanston is the community
involvement. Over $350,000 of the funding used to restore the old depot was raised at the
city's annual Renewal Ball. Residents, local businesses and town officials invested their
own time and money to rebuild the town. Perhaps that's why the revitalization of Evanston
has been so successful.
Jackson Hole Intense Growth Threatens Wildlife, Residents
The Teton Mountains near Jackson Hole offer some of the most stunningly
beautiful scenery in the world. Unfortunately, tremendous growth threatens the area's
scenic beauty -- not to mention the bald eagles, wolves, elk and bighorn sheep that call
the mountains home.
The area's natural wonders have brought both people and businesses to Jackson Hole. The
population has quadrupled in the past 30 years from a sleepy little town of 4,800 to over
20,000 today. Along with the people have come buildings -- many of them poorly planned and
built in a sprawling fashion. In the last 15 years, Jackson Hole has had to build three
new schools, two new post offices, a new jail, a new hospital, and a new airport terminal.
New businesses and housing developments have sprung up in the valley and most of the
projects have been built on open space or farm land.
However many people come to Jackson Hole, it is clear that only the most affluent can
afford to stay. The average single-family home price in 1999 was $750,000. Because of the
lack of affordable housing, many people who work in the area must commute from as far as
Pinedale, over 77 miles away, thus adding to the region's traffic and air pollution.