Depot repairs could come in near future

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 11, 2012

Depot could soon see renovations. File photo

The City of Opp in the coming weeks will let bids for repairs of the aging historic downtown depot, officials said this week.

The restoration of the old depot is part of an ongoing downtown revitalization plan the city and the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission presented in March 2010.

The plan’s overall goal is to create an attractive downtown area in which pedestrians can stroll through town and take advantage of local businesses.

The city has already completed several phases of the project including renovating the sidewalks on East and West Covington Avenues and portions of Main Street, as well as installing new street lighting and removing two red lights, which were replaced with four-way stops.

Opp Mayor H.D. Edgar told the council that a lot of materials must be custom made.

Opp City Planner Don Childre said the doors and windows are all cut in a special pattern.

“Put anything else there and it won’t look right,” he said.

Harry Whigham is the only person who still makes the custom made shingles and other odds and ends needed to fix the building.

The depot is in the Opp historic district, but is not on the historical register.

Councilman Scotty Short said the building “has historical value to us.”

“We’d like to maintain the original look,” he said.

Childre said he hoped to have a price some time this week on shingles. The city is working to keep the historic significance intact by using the original materials.

Childre said there is some damage on the southside of the building, but they hope by redecking the building and fixing the roof they can preserve it.

Councilman Jimmy Rogers said that he believes everyone in the city would like to see the building restored.

“The problem is getting the money,” he said.

The city budgeted $50,000 for the project in its current year budget.