07/16/08 — Mt. Olive plans depot makeover

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Mt. Olive plans depot makeover

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 16, 2008 1:44 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Bids ranging from $150,000 to $200,000 for renovations to the old train depot were opened Tuesday afternoon.

Town Manager Charles Brown said he was hesitant to provide detailed specifics of the bids until they could be verified by the town's engineers.

Mt Olive Depot

News-Argus/Bobby Williams

The historic Mount Olive train depot is scheduled for a major face-lift project later this year.

"Sometimes you will open bids and will have a large discrepancy and you think you have saved a lot of money, but before you can be sure of that, the engineer has to look at every part of the bid to make sure it is filled out properly and that nothing has been left out," Brown said. "In my mind those bids are not valid until they have been verified by the engineer."

Brown said he expected to hear from the engineer today.

If everything is in order, the bids will be presented to town commissioners for their approval at their Aug. 4 meeting.

Companies bidding were Dixie Construction Co. of Wallace, Henry H. Cummings of Kinston and Raydal of Charlotte.

Along with checking the bids, the town will check the companies' references and past performances.

The depot is located in the alleyway between West Main and West James streets and next to the Mount Olive Housing Authority. It serves as the town's Civic Center.

The renovations include floor refinishing, roof work, replacement of weatherboarding, both interior and exterior painting and heating and air conditioning repair, improved lighting and work in the kitchen area.

The project is being funded through $190,000 in grants.

Originally, the town had received a $100,000 grant from the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation (DOT) Enhancement Unit to relocate the depot to its original site near the railroad tracks on the west side of North Center Street near the fire station.

Not enough land was available for the move and it appeared the town might lose the grant.

However, the town won approval to use the grant for the renovation project.

Another $90,000 is being funded by the Federal Highway Administration through the DOT. The town was required to provide a $20,000 match to the grants.

Brown said it will take at least 60 days to get the project under way, and the contract calls for the work to be completed within 90 days.

Brown said he was "excited" about the work, particularly in light of plans to locate Steele Memorial Library to the old Belk-Tyler's building across West Main Street from the Civic Center.

"That would be a real center of activity downtown if we can get it all worked out," Brown said. "It (depot) will be a beautiful building. I have seen several that have been restored.."