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Handing over history: Regions Bank donates former post office, library to City of Thomson

Kenneth Usry can already see the big picture.

"When all the work is done, you can look out across that parking lot and see the new government center," he said standing in the lobby of the old post office and library on Main Street and gesturing toward the Knox shopping center parking lot.

Mr. Usry - Regions Bank Sr. Vice President and Mayor Pro-tem for the City of Thomson - joined Central Georgia Bank of Regions President Jimmy Rigsby in donating the 7,160-square-foot brick and stucco building on Main Street in downtown Thomson to city leaders during a brief ceremony Thursday morning.

"This is a major gift for the City and will flow into the current revitalization plans for downtown nicely," said Thomson City Administrator Don Powers. "It shows what we hope will be the continued long term support by Regions Bank for Thomson and McDuffie County. It is a great example of the leadership that this bank has shown in Thomson from the old days of the Bank of Thomson, then Allied Bankshares, and now Regions."

Built in 1931, the building which was originally a post office, is one of only two certified bomb shelters in Thomson. The City of Thomson bought the building for use as a library in the late 1970's. Allied Bank purchased the building in 1989, and workers moved into the building in early 1990, Mr. Rigsby said.

At its peak, the building housed more than a dozen Allied employees. But after recent mergers, that number had dwindled to three, and the building had been vacant for about a year.

Mr. Rigsby said the donation should compliment local leaders' plans for revitalizing downtown Thomson, which range from a streetscape renovation to a new city-county government complex.

"We are the oldest bank in town," Mr. Rigsby said. "...We need to do our part for what they are doing. It doesn't cost us a thing to speak of, but it has a huge benefit for the community."

Thomson Mayor Bob Knox said local leaders aren't sure what they'll do with the building - which is across Main Street from the planned government complex site. Most likely, he said, it'll become home to economic development, tourism and chamber of commerce offices.

"It will be put to the maximum use for our development plans for downtown Thomson," he said.

Web posted on Thursday, March 22, 2007

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