Driving along Commercial Street, the presence of construction workers at the historical train depot is a good sign that the rehabilitation is well underway. Having been on Morgan City Manager Ty Bailey’s project list for the past two to three years and the Morgan County Historian Rachel Turk’s list for even longer, it is a project that can have an important impact on the community as potential Historical Society Offices and a limited hour visitors center.
Experiencing common construction project delays, the depot delays have primarily been due to concrete. As explained by Turk, there has been some delay in sourcing other materials; fortunately, because there are multiple elements that can be worked on non-sequentially, the project has not been completely stalled.
“The project is going well, and the Entelen/FFKR team has been great to work with, ” enthused Turk. “They understand how to do historic rehabilitation work and how to maximize the budget to get the desired end product. It has been a pleasure to work with them and their crews.”
The original doors have been restored and it is all original flooring. When carpet was pulled up, sections of the flooring were damaged but that was compensated with flooring out of the restrooms. The new restroom is going to be tile. There were initially two restrooms, but in the efforts to make the bathroom ADA compliant, the opening had to be widened. It ended up becoming one bathroom, unisex, and a little larger. Going through extensive efforts to maintain the historical feel, the door for that bathroom is being replaced with a new door that is being made to look like the original, only a bit wider. The other restroom was converted to a cleaning closet. Up to this point, all the doors and exterior wood elements have been restored.
The outside ramp is in place and according to Bailey, the ramp on the upper deck is going to be stamped concrete in a wishbone type pattern that will look like pavers. Also, the city found original tiles from the basement to patch the roof.
Once this phase of the project is done, Turk shares, “We will be moving forward to finalize the end use of the building. It is the goal that the space benefits the community and visitors.”
Turk was able to secure a $72,000 Cultural Organization Capital Investment Grant funded by Utah Arts and Museums and the National Endowment for the Arts. Turk then approached Morgan City who is contributing the matching funds required; the project was put out to bid in January 2022. The city has applied for an additional $50,000 Hometown Grant through T-Mobile. To this point, the city has satisfied those grant requirements even though still finishing the project as per the bid, but the city was able to get that done in the same budget year. The city is applying for another grant under Economic Development to finish it out.
Morgan City Executive Assistant Wanda Adams said of the grant process leading up to construction, “It has been exciting to see the grant process in action, as well as seeing the historic society, city employees, architects and builders work together to produce a plan to bring the Morgan Train Depot back to life. It is a vital part of Morgan’s character and identity.”
“The goal for the project is three-fold: rehabilitation of the historic exterior, concrete upgrades to bring the building to ADA standards, as well as upgrading the interior restrooms to standards,” explained the city before starting the project. “We want the train depot to be brought up to city code and standards so this historic building can have occupancy. Depending on funding, we would like to see this happen by the end of the year.” The timeline is turning out to be on track.
One resident who runs by the area daily commented, “I love seeing Morgan working on improving and bringing life back to history. It has been neat to see the daily progress and watch as it becomes a little better and beautiful each day. It is almost being transported into time -minus the modern additions- and experiencing what it might have been like when my ancestors lived here. I can’t wait till it’s done.”
Photo Credit: MC Historical Society