An early Christmas present is on its way to Thomson.
It comes in the form of a $400,000 TE grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation for renovations of the historic Thomson Depot.
The renovation of the depot, which was built back in 1860, is a part of a three-phase downtown revitalization program launched by Thomson city officials earlier this year. The city already had received TE grant funding for two previous projects.
One of the first projects involved in the program was the creation of new parking lots in the rear of downtown businesses. That particular project includes new curbs and sidewalks, as well as new street lights.
"This is great news," said Thomson City Administrator Don Powers after learning that officials of the Georgia DOT had approved the city's third request for TE funding for renovations of the Thomson Depot. "We had been hopeful, but cautiously optimistic about whether or not we would receive the funding."
Mr. Powers called it just another piece of the puzzle for a complete cycle of downtown revitalization.
"This will allow us to upgrade and modernize our depot from 20th century to 21st century," Mr. Powers added.
For the past several years, city officials have noticed that the building, located off Railroad Street near busy train tracks in the heart of Thomson, had been in dire need of renovations. The renovation funds will be used for work on the inside and outside of the building.
The Thomson Depot currently houses the offices of the Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce, Thomson-McDuffie County Visitors and Tourism and Thomson-McDuffie County Economic Development Authority. The building also is used as a meeting place for several civic groups and serves as a community center.
"I'm delighted to announce these grants," said Bill Kuhlke Jr., of Augusta, who serves as a board member of the Georgia Department of Transportation. "We received a great many excellent applications from communities and organizations in the 10th District. Unfortunately, we could not fund them all in this grant phase.These which are being funded showed great local government commitment to improving their community's quality of life and their local elected leaders and state legislators are to be commended."
City officials received support from state Senator William "Bill" Jackson (R-Appling) and state Rep. Sistie Hudson, (D-Sparta).