Leesburg train depot to get restoration - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Leesburg train depot to get restoration

Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn

The city council unanimously approved $20,000 to complete the next step in a plan to renovate the old train depot the city bought 10 years ago. The money will be used to conduct a historical and environmental study on the depot, which will free up allocated federal funds for the project.

City leaders are excited about the possibilities the renovation could bring. This old depot has seen many changes in Leesburg since it was built in the late 1800s. But now city leaders are hoping to breathe new life into the old building at the end of these tracks.

Last night, the city council agreed to hire a research firm to study the site so the city can get federal money for the project.

"They'll go through, check everything out," said Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn. "Do research on an environmental and historical study. Make sure everything's in compliance with EPA, EPD and move everything forward with the next step."

The city bought the depot a decade ago, with the intention of renovation. And after all these years, city leaders are hoping to complete the project within the next two years. "It'll be a focal point for Leesburg, the courthouse is beautiful on the West side of the tracks, and the railroad depot on the other side will look wonderful," said Quinn.

An architecture firm out of Valdosta that has experience in historical renovations has been approved to by the city for the project. The plan is to transform the depot into a community space that can accommodate 150 people for meetings and events.

It will also include a small museum displaying historical artifacts from Lee County. "There's a lot of weddings that happen in downtown Leesburg in that park area. And this will be a great place to have things for that. It'll clean up downtown Leesburg. It'll be a good starting point to get Leesburg looking beautiful," said Quinn.

As plans continue to move forward, the city hopes to start accepting bids for the project sometime soon. Congressman Sanford bishop helped get almost $300,000 for the project back in 2008. After the study is completed the city should be able to use that money for the project.

Mayor Quinn says he hopes the renovation will attract businesses and other events to the city.

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