NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - The New Bern Preservation Foundation is hoping to raise more than one million dollars to transform the abandoned train station on Queen Street and turn it into a restaurant or real estate.
"We hope to bring it back with tenants and businesses so that people can come and enjoy it today and rekindle memories of when it served the community so well back 114 years ago." says Lee Purcell of the New Bern Preservation Foundation.
The non-profit group is credited with saving hundred of historic houses and buildings in down town New Bern.
"Most of downtown is because of our work we started 40 years ago and we started one step ahead of the wrecking ball as they were tearing down." says Joe Mansfield, President of the New Bern Preservation Foundation.
State legislature had refused to renew the historic state tax credits. So the train depot restoration project will need to be primarily funded through fundraising efforts. To transform the building into real estate, costs would reach $1.4 million. If the group renovated for a restaurant the cost is estimated to be around $2.4 million.
"Again this is long term, you know? It's not a 'tomorrow thing'. People say 'when are you going to have the building fixed?' Well, if you look around you can see that it's going to take a while to get it fixed."says Mansfield.
The group has already worked to repair the roof of the building. The half a million dollar project was primarily funded through a Department of Transportation grant. The remainder of the project was paid for by federal stimulus money.
To get the public excited about the project and to let them get a peak inside there will be a free open house on September 21 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.