The improvements were unveiled to the community Oct. 21 during the city’s fall festival.
“It was completely re-done,” said Bill Shell, the city’s administrator. “It was beginning to deteriorate and fall down. The roof had holes in it.”
New features of the train depot include a banquet room which holds up to 95 people, a meeting room with a 44-person capacity on the north end and a space for the continuance of the museum portion.
Restrooms are stationed on each end of the building as well.
This layout, Shell said, is the original condition of the depot, before office spaces and council chambers were erected in the building.
There is history embedded into the structure, including how the city became owners of it.
According to Shell, before the depot was purchased from CSX Railroad Company in 1977, the city leased it from the company.
“We purchased it from CSX about 10 years ago,” he said. “One of our mayors worked for CSX railroad and that was how we got the lease. It cost us about $100 a year to lease it.”
Renovations on the depot began nearly a year ago, financed through a $1 million Georgia Department of Transportation transportation enhancement grant. The city matched the grant received with an additional $200,000 in funding from another grant.
In order to harness the history surrounding the building and the city itself, Shell hopes the museum can get off to a solid start at the beginning of next year.
Thus far, old mementos have been donated to the city such as an antique desk from the 1940s, paintings from the Civil War, children’s toys and antique bicycles.
Donations continue to stream in, Shell said.
“We hope to open the museum around the first of next year,” Shell said. “We are asking volunteers from Palmetto to sit in the museum to keep it open two or three days a week. We have two volunteers already and are hoping for more to come forward.”
The Palmetto Train Depot is at 549 Main St..