12/17/08 — City raises flag over first phase of Union Station rehab project

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City raises flag over first phase of Union Station rehab project

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on December 17, 2008 1:46 PM

The renovation of Union Station paused Tuesday as workers and city residents gathered to celebrate the completion of the first phase of work that is expected to bring the old railroad center back to life.

"This is history," said one Goldsboro resident who attended the ceremony at the station on North Carolina Street that culminated in the raising of the American flag over the structure.

With stabilization of the building finished, the next phase of work will involve restoration of the interior.

"This is the beginning of something that's going to be great," Mayor Al King said, adding that he was excited by the number of people who attended the event in spite of the cold.

State Department of Transportation representatives were also in attendance.

Allan Paul, the director of operations and facilities for the department's rail division, told the gathering of about 75 that he was pleased with the progress on the project that started a year ago.

"I'm looking forward to showing up here in the not-too-distant future for a ribbon-cutting," Paul said.

And after Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan sang the national anthem and the U.S. flag was raised, the formal part of the ceremony concluded.

But many of the visitors stayed around to stroll through the first floor of the building and to talk about the memories it brought back.

Lifetime Goldsboro resident Mary Johnstone was one of them.

"There used to be a steak house right across the street," the 87-year-old said. "It was so good."

She said she was glad to see the old building was being preserved.

"I think it's great, what they are doing with it," she said.

Her only request? When passenger train service returns, she wants to be on the first train.

John, Jay and Kym Maddocks attended. Jay worked on the project as an architect with David E. Gall and Associates.

"It's nice to see it come to fruition," he said, referring to the stabilization work.

He said the return of the station and the possibility of passenger train service returning to downtown Goldsboro should give the neighborhood a boost. Old Goldsboro has a lot to offer both residents and business owners, he added.

"The fabric of the area is great," he said.

"I think this will create a buzz for the area," Kym Maddocks said. "Things like this are what create that invigoration. And that invigoration gets the community involved. And when the community gets involved, you take the city back."

"I think it's going to be a great anchor to this neighborhood," John Maddocks said.

An ecstatic King said he never dreamed the project would be this far along so soon.

"But we got some really great people that were interested, and we got it moving," the mayor said.

King said the GATEWAY bus system should be move into the building within the next few years, and after that, rail service will be on its way.

Paul wouldn't say which rail service, commuter or passenger, would run through Union Station.

"It's very premature to say which service in particular will come through here," he said. "We still need to work that out."