Depot project could let by February

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 10, 2014

“Everything’s on schedule.”

That’s what Opp Mayor John Bartholomew said Thursday about the depot project.

More than a year ago, the city was awarded a $400,000 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant and was authorized by the Federal Highway Administration’s Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.

At the time, Bartholomew said the grant required a 20 percent match from the city and funds would be used to also install a new roof.

“City Planner Jason Bryan and Architect Chris Stoyles met with the Department of Transportation and everything’s on schedule,” he said. “They have a few more procedures they have to go through, the architect does, but we’re hoping it will all be approved by January, and they will put out bids in February.”

Bartholomew stressed that the project depends on DOT.

“When it’s out of your hands, you’re just hoping they go on your timeframe,” he said. “Everyone’s been working well together. The DOT has been very gracious and working well with our architect and city planner. That was a great meeting, and we’re very excited to go forward with this project.”

Plans are to turn the depot into a welcome center for the city and potentially serve as the home for the Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s going to be a focal point, we feel, once it’s completed,” Bartholomew said.

The plan is to give the building a fresher look.

“We’re not making any structural changes,” he said previously. “It will have a new roof, new windows and refurbish the inside.”

TAP provides funding for projects defined as transportation alternatives, including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, community improvement activities, and environmental mitigation.