ABERDEEN – Dozens of people, from locals to those representing state agencies, joined together for the Aberdeen Main Street Association’s open house Aug. 2. The project caps off five years of planning, creativity and manual work.
“This is going to be our anchor. We’ve got huge things on the horizon for Main Street to do here,” said Aberdeen Main Street Director Ann Tackett.
The depot is available as a rental venue, and future plans include a cannery. Aberdeen’s farmers market is already located at the depot.
In late 2013, Tackett learned Main Street was awarded a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, and work has progressively picked up during the past several months to complete the project.
She commended help from the Monroe County Work Center for transforming the closed up former Illinois Central railroad depot into the destination it is now.
“The concrete you’re standing on, the wood, the paint…you name it, and they’ve done it. It is an amazing program for what it’s done for Aberdeen, especially,” Tackett said. “This would have been another dilapidated building. I don’t know if it would have still been standing had it not been for them.”
Tackett asked Sheriff Cecil Cantrell to cut the ribbon, held by retired engineer Sam Jaynes on the other end. She thanked the two for their contributions – Cantrell for allowing the inmate labor and Jaynes for offering his continued guidance.