SPLOST dollars at work to help stabilize historic train depot

SPLOST dollars at work to help stabilize historic train depot

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Your sales tax money kept a unique piece of South Georgia history from caving in, but preservationists need more money to renovate the city's old train depot. After years of wear and tear it was collapsing. Thronateeska Heritage officials have been working to stabilize the building and are now looking for additional funding.

New light colored bricks are helping to stabilize the Historic Tift Depot at the Thronateeska Heritage Center. Built up moisture was causing the old bricks used to build the Depot in 1857 to deteriorate.

"It was just in very bad shape and in danger of collapsing and falling down so we wanted to make sure we could preserve that," said Tommy Gregors, Thronateeska Heritage Center Executive Director.

They used $500,000 in County SPLOST Funds to do the work partnering with Coastal Heritage Society in Savannah.

"It was a good partnership between us and the folks at Savannah to really save this building," said Gregors. "It's only one of five brick depots left in the state that was built before the Civil War."

That money was enough to complete 90% of the stabilization work. They're now looking for additional grant money or private donations to finish that before they work on a budget to renovate the historic depot so it can reopen to the public.

"So we would like it for travel exhibits, possibly special events," said Gregors. "Our board and planning committee are trying to figure out what we want to do with it."

They also used an additional $140,000 of SPLOST funds to move a railroad car from Savannah, which will soon end up in this line up of railroad cars.
"That car is restored," said Gregors. "It's located here on our tracks and we're just waiting now to reconfigure the train and finish that project up in the coming months as well."

Gregors hopes plans to restore the historic depot will be included in the next SPLOST referendum.

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