Cordele city leaders spend $400K to revitalize downtown - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Cordele city leaders spend $400K to revitalize downtown

(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
Cordele Main Street Director Monica Mitchell (Source: WALB) Cordele Main Street Director Monica Mitchell (Source: WALB)
Alissa Wilkerson (Source: WALB) Alissa Wilkerson (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
CORDELE, GA (WALB) -

Some downtown Cordele buildings that some may call eyesores will soon get a facelift, and part of it will have a railroad theme.  

The thundering horns of trains have become an attraction for railroad enthusiasts in Southwest Georgia.

"We have a lot of rail fans that come to town...people come down and take pictures of the switching station," said Cordele Main Street Director Monica Mitchell.

Mitchell said 150 to 200 people ride the Sam Shortline every week.

Visitors on the train have a $2.1 million-dollar impact on Cordele's economy which isn't surprising given the city was built along the railroad tracks.

To meet the needs of the community, city leaders are turning an old building into a railroad museum and art gallery, and that will cost about $400,000.

Some of the funds will come from the Cordele, Crisp Tourism Department.

The idea came out of a rail tourism plan.

"Not only make it a destination but establish a safe place for the rail fans," said Mitchell. 

Just across the tracks will be the home to a new commercial business.

"I've always loved downtowns in every small city, their just so unique," said Alissa Wilkerson. 

A native of Cordele, Wilkerson plans to turn a former bank located on North 7th street into a retail store or a bakery.

It's two stories and a total of 9,000 square feet.

"This is my biggest project to date...so it's going to take me a little while but we're really excited about it," remarked Wilkerson. 

Mitchell said crews will be starting on the roof of the railroad museum and art gallery in the coming weeks.

They also plan to build an observation deck for railroad enthusiasts.

Wilkerson said the first floor of the property will be ready in six months. 

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