The crowd gathered along the 200 block of West Yellowstone for lots of howdying, good-old-boying, good-old-girling, politicking, handshaking, speechifying and ribbon cutting for the next phase of the downtown plaza known as David Street Station.

Then Sabrina Hurst went to work.

Hurst worked the controls of her John Deere 330C hydraulic excavator -- nicknamed "Sabrina the Destroyer" -- to raise and open the Tyrannosaurus Rex-frightening jaws and guide them above of the former gas station/auto repair shop at 255 W. Yellowstone Drive.

And take its first bite. And another and another, only to stop to sweep aside the crumbs for some more stud, steel and window munching.

Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

So went the first minutes of several weeks of demolition on the block to clear the way for the downtown plaza to be known as the David Street Station. Hurst and Sabrina the Destroyer did the after-dinner cleanup by dropping the debris in the side-dumper of the Green Dirt Minig & Hauling, LLC.

There are more meals to come.

Besides the former gas station, the demolition over the next three weeks will include the parking lot immediately to the east of it, and two buildings along David Street, said Kevin Hawley, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority.

"In the next three weeks, they'll clear all this site and it will be a dirt lot," Hawley said.

"WLC (Engineering, Surveying, & Planning) will come in for a final site survey, and then we'll start preparing the site with underground utilities, grading, things of that nature, and get ready for a functional and usable space by this time next year," he said.

This is a big deal for Hawley, who first learned about the project two-and-half years ago, he said.

"I believed in it," Hawley said.

"I believe in what it's going to do for this community," he said. "I'm just elated today that we're here today celebrating this milestone. We're going to continue to move forward so that we can celebrate together as a community."
The David Street Station will feature a band shell and seating area for performances, a splash pad, an ice rink, on-site restrooms, vendor stations, a second-story observation deck, art installations, public seating areas, and a small area for street performers.

The DDA has raised $5.5 million of the total $8.5 million project, he said. The DDA is funded by a 1 mill levy on the area roughly bordered by Ash, Collins, Kimball, and A and C streets.

The rest will come from sources including private donors and an anticipated $500,000 community enhancement grant from the Wyoming Business Council, Hawley said.

"The demolition shows the community, to the donors that yes in fact this project is moving forward and this is a great thing for the community," he said. "We thought it's important to show progress with what we already have before you go and ask for more."