The group that hopes to save the historic Moline train depot will ask the city council today to provide more time to raise the $155,000 needed to help move it, extending the deadline from Dec. 18 to May 1.

In nine weeks, the Save the Moline Depot committee has raised more than $60,000 in pledges and received $16,000 in in-kind services, leaving a total of $79,000 to be raised, Neil Dahlstrom, a member of the committee, said Monday.

The group has six grant applications pending that would put it over the top — raising more than $100,000 — but they will not know the outcome of those requests by Dec. 18, Dahlstrom explained.

“We are challenged by a short timeline,” he said.

The circa-1900 depot on River Drive stands in the path of the new Interstate 74 bridge project, but preservationists had brokered a plan they hoped would save it: Move the depot to the Western Illinois University-Quad-Cities riverfront campus in Moline where it would be renovated as a welcome center.

In addition to involvement by the university, the Illinois Department of Transportation agreed to spend up to $1 million to move the building and provide a new foundation, and the city had informally agreed to donate the building — which it bought in 1994 — as well as pay for repairs and utility disconnection, an amount estimated at $155,000.

In September, a majority of council members said they did not want to spend any more money on the building and would instead sell it to the state, which would then demolish it.

Responding to pleas from preservationists, council members said the group could have until the end of the year — or the last council meeting of 2012 on Dec. 18 — to raise the money.

Since then, members of the Save the Moline Depot committee, working with the Moline Preservation Society, have put up yard signs, hosted news conferences to update the public, created a website (savethemolinedepot.com) and written grant applications to organizations that fund projects related to history, preservation and railroads, plus other areas that will be impacted by moving the depot.

Modern Woodmen of America has already granted $1,000, and applications are pending with the Moline Foundation, Landmarks Illinois, the Carver Charitable Trust, National Railway Historical Society, Charles Deere Wiman Trust and Alphawood Foundation, a Chicago-area group, Dahlstrom said.

“We appreciate the needs of other people at this time of year, too,” said Barbara Sandberg, a member of the preservation society and the chairman of the city’s preservation commission. “But we’re just asking for more time.”

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