For out-of-towners who arrive in Greenwood by Amtrak train, the train’s depot is their introduction to the city.
Mayor Carolyn McAdams and other city leaders say the renovation of the building may give train travellers a reason to stop, stay and explore Greenwood.
“It would be rewarding for Greenwood if tourists who stopped by would want to stay by seeing the depot,” she said.
The depot, located along Carrollton Avenue, is owned by Canadian National Railway. McAdams said the city would like to lease it from CN in order to renovate it.
On Tuesday, McAdams, along with Ward 1’s Johnny Jennings, and Ward 4’s Charles McCoy, made their annual pilgrimage to Washington D.C. to meet with politicians who represent Mississippi — Republican senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Rep. Bennie Thompson.
Along with McAdams, McCoy and Jennings was Brantley Snipes, the executive director of Main Street Greenwood, a nonprofit whose mission is to preserve historical buildings downtown.
McAdams said they were there to receive guidance from the legislators on how to renovate the building. She also said Snipes gave a presentation about what Greenwood would like to do with the train depot.
The presentation includes pictures of Greenwood’s depot that detail its poor condition — a lackluster waiting room, debris scattered throughout, and cracked concrete.
Greenwood’s train depot is the second most used in the state, after Jackson, McAdams said.
In 2017, the mayor said 14,471 passengers stopped by Greenwood, eclipsing other Mississippi towns such as Meridian, Hattiesburg and Picayune.
The mayor said the legislators were very receptive of the presentation and are “certainly willing to help us resolve this matter.”
McAdams said she does not yet know what the costs to renovate the train depot would be since the city has not had a chance to inspect the building.
She did say that she would like to restore the building to how it looked 30 to 40 years ago. Inside, McAdams said it would be nice to brush up the waiting room by adding a counter for juice and coffee as well as a tourism table run by volunteers to welcome tourists.
“Just have a person, a face to say, ‘Welcome to the city of Greenwood,’” she said.
To fund the project, McAdams the city will apply for grants “immediately.”
Aside from tourism renovations, the mayor said Amtrak is putting money into the depot to make the building more accessible for those with disabilities, such as remodeling the restrooms and waiting rooms to accommodate those with wheelchairs.
The disabilities renovations “would help us tremendously,” McAdams said.
By renovating the depot to have more eye appeal, it would give tourists “our story of what we have to offer here,” the mayor said.
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