Broadway depot project gets boost through MDOT funding
Published 12:11 am Thursday, October 2, 2014
By Devonte Demby
The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ — Immense improvements are coming to Broadway Street.
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The City of Natchez received funding in the amount of $247,500 for design-phase work for enhancements to the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot on Broadway Street.
Mississippi Department of Transportation presented a check to the city Wednesday at the Carriage House during the weekly Rotary Club meeting.
“These improvements are necessary for the City of Natchez,” Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King said. “It’s a tourism place and a great city to visit.”
The depot project will include improvements to the foyer and new fully accessible public restrooms, along with a plaza entrance with seating and exterior lighting.
The depot will also operate as a visitor reception center for the Natchez Trails Project, which will be included into the redevelopment of the area.
The Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad built the depot in the early 1900s.
The MDOT funding came through the TAP program, a transportation alternative program.
King said the funding provided by MDOT is federal money that can’t be used for highways or bridges, but can be used for walkways and projects such as the depot.
“Transportation equals economic development,” King said. “Economic development means more jobs.”
Mayor Butch Brown said the depot is one of the most historic treasures in the city.
“It’s really the most stable of our industries,” Brown said. “It’s always been there, and we have been able to capitalize on.”
The goal is to have the depot restored by 2016, in time for the Natchez Tricentennial, Brown said.
Brown said the city will be ready to begin work on the depot by the end of the month.
“We have done all of the demolition work,” Brown said. “It’s been cleaned out and ready to go.”
Plans also include constructing new office space for Alcorn and Mississippi State University extension services.
The depot’s space would have a demonstration kitchen that could be used for educational or commercial purposes.
Brown thanked MDOT for their support of the depot project.
“Tom King has been very helpful to me and the City of Natchez,” Brown said.