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Depot Plans In Development

PRINCE EDWARD – There's not much happening at the site of the burned out Prospect Depot, but for those who have long awaited its rise from the ashes, the time is coming.

County Economic Development Director Sharon Carney presented a project update at the August 14 Board of Supervisors meeting.

“Over the last 18 months, the Prospect Depot restoration project has been moving along with the preparation of construction plans by CJMW,” a memo to the board cited. “Finally in June 2012, the draft plans were sent to various agencies for review: Bureau of Capital Outlay Management (BCOM); VA Dept. of Historical Resources (DHR), VA Dept. of Transportation (VDOT) and the County Building official. The first round of reviews is nearly complete.”

The Prospect Historical Society, coordinating with the County, has banked a healthy sum of grant funds over the years to rebuild/remodel the depot-to the tune of just over half a million dollars (though some in-kind match is required). The dedicated group of supporters has fought long and hard to keep it-restore it.

The time is drawing nigh.

“I know it's been a long time out there,” Ms. Carney told the board, “but the Prospect Depot is making progress. Since January of 2011, the board of supervisors appropriated funds to have plans drawn up for the construction of the restoration of the depot.”

Plans were submitted in June to the agencies that must give their approval before the project can move forward.

“All of these things require a tremendous amount of money for reviews and plans and printing,” Ms. Carney explained.

BCOM, she cited, charged them over $5,000 to review the first round of plans. So far, she added, they have received over $8,000 in review expenses from VDOT, which comes out of the project.

“…Once we get this group of plans, these reviews from all of these agencies together, they will go back to CJMW for adjustments and corrections and then we have to print another 15 sets of plans and send it through the system all over again,” Ms. Carney said. “And we'll do this over and over until everybody signs off on it.”

Ms. Carney asked, and the board approved, an additional $40,000, which she noted, they had not anticipated in this stage of the project. It was also cited that the value of the depot and the property was approved as match funds by VDOT, giving an additional $44,958 in value, and could potentially release $224,000 of VDOT funds for the project.

But the $40,000 will get them to bid plans.

“The next phase after this is once we get bid plans, we go out to bid-it takes 30 days to bid, then it takes another 60 to 90 days for VDOT to approve whoever is the bid winner and then you would move forward with construction,” Ms. Carney said. “So it's a long, drawn out process.”

The Prospect Historical Society and DCR, she cited, have put forth $60,998 worth of match funds; the total amount of match for the project is $125,250 “so they're about half way there.”

“In the actual construction of the project,” Ms. Carney further elaborated, “there are numerous opportunities that they'll be able to pick up donations-that sort of thing. I've already been in contact with somebody that's gonna install the septic system, people that are donating materials for the project that will…reduce the cost of the project to the society…that will also act as a match to the project.”

Farmville District (701) Supervisor Jim Wilck asked what the Depot is going to be used for. Ms. Carney explained that the focus of the building has changed. The first money they received in 2000 was for it to be a transportation historical museum in the Prospect area.

“But since then,” she added, “with the High Bridge Trail going through there, the Depot is going to be used as a ranger office and a rest stop-one of the few rest stops with running water that a visitor will have. The other thing is that particular rest stop has enough land that goes with it that will allow people coming in with horse trailers and big vehicles to park there where a lot of the other trail heads don't have that.”

There will also be a small museum/meeting area for the community.

“So it's a great partnership between the two,” Ms. Carney said. “It's morphed into a much bigger and a better project than it was originally.”

She further explained that they would restore the outside appearance as much as they can, but the inside will be adapted more for a modern use.

The County is serving as the fiscal agent for the project and supervisors approved the $40,000 change to the budget, which will be repaid to the County. The board unanimously approved the budget amendment.