Porterdale receives $250K grant

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

PORTERDALE -- A $250,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation will be used toward completion of renovations of the Old Train Depot in Porterdale and continue work on the town's multi-use trail.

Mayor Bobby Hamby announced the grant award at the City Council's work session on May 26. Hamby said the funds will be available after city representatives attend a transportation project management workshop.

Hamby said the city initially asked for $500,000 to complete the interior renovations of the depot and do some work on the hardscape outside. The reduced grant award will mean that the city will have to scale back its renovation plans.

"What was in the original application was that we wanted to finish out the interior of the depot and do the design for paving around the depot," Hamby said.

Right now the interior is a blank slate. The exterior of the depot was rehabilitated using earlier grant funds. The depot was built sometime around 1900.

"In the original grant there was only enough money to do the outside, so there is nothing inside," Hamby said. "Right now there is actually no electricity inside the building, no finished walls or anything like that."

Part of the $250,000 grant will also be used to develop a multi-use trail connecting the depot to the existing pilot trail near the Yellow River.

The grant is part of the federally funded Transportation Enhancement Grant funds. More than $200 million in requests for the TE funds were submitted to the DOT for 2011. Of that requested amount, $55 million was awarded to 144 projects in the state.

"We were so glad to work with all of our (DOT) board members in identifying worthy projects across all 13 Congressional Districts," said Georgia DOT Commissioner Vance C. Smith Jr. "The TE program is an important tool for us to help local communities do needed projects to improve the quality of life for their citizens."

The TE program funds multi-use facilities, such as walking and biking trails and paths; streetscaping and landscaping projects in cities and towns; historic preservation of transportation-related facilities like railroad depots; and scenic preservation of views and scenic byways, according to the DOT.

The TE program was established in 1991 by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. The program was continued by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act -- A Legacy For Users in 2005.