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There's hope for old depot

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POSTED: February 13, 2007 5:06 a.m.
The historic old white house once used as the city of Hinesville’s train depot in the early 1900s may be sold for $10 and saved from being torn down.
The building is right in the middle of the city’s $7 million redevelopment project that will provide a thoroughfare from Highway 84 through Washington Street, and North Main Street, through downtown to Memorial Drive.
Flemington resident Joseph B. Way built a railroad in 1910 and made the old house on North Main Street a train depot. The house served as a depot for about nine years before the railroad failed.
The city owns the property and put it up for public sale in October. No one responded to an advertisement noting it was for sale until recently, Assistant City Administrator Kenny Howard said.
“The city has not given an answer yet. I just made the offer,” Hinesville resident Jennifer Flournoy said.
In a letter to city officials earlier this month, Flournoy offered to purchase the building and have the city move the structure to Gause Street. She plans to renovate the building. Moving the building, a new foundation and any powerline adjustments would cost about $10,000 the letter said. Flournoy asked the city to pay half of the estimated costs plus any construction and building fees. She wants to relocated the building next to the old Seven Sisters building, another historic marker, and restore it according to the guidelines of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the letter read.
“It’ll cost a fair amount to restore that building. You can’t just go in and buy it for any sizeable amount of money because the numbers won’t work. You just have to go in and save the building,” Flournoy said. “What we would like to do is make an historic area.”
Although the city has not made a decision, members of the Downtown Development Authority seemed to think during their January meeting the plan was a good idea.
“We wanted to save it. If we can save it for less money than it will cost to burn, move, or tear it down then we’ll be doing the right thing,” DDA Chairman Brian Smith said.
 “Hinesville is an old community but has few historic buildings,” he noted.
Flournoy said she has spent several years restoring old historic properties in the state and has worked with the Georgia Trust in the past.
“Historic properties add to the character of any area. I’m just into salvaging as much historic property as I can,” she said.
 “We don’t have anything like an antique mall or any kind of artist market. We don’t have any place where any local crafts are displayed and I wanted to preserve the old building and add a little local color to the area,” she said.
 “Anybody who has old photos of the building is welcome to bring them in. I’d love to have them hang on the walls.”
If the city rejects Flournoy’s proposal, the house will be torn down to widen Washington Street and link it to Main Street. If the proposal is accepted the old depot would keep its authentic look and would be open to the public.
“We just want to make it something the community would enjoy,” Flournoy said. “If it pans out, it’ll be good for the community.”
 

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