Southeast Tennessee Human Resources Agency Executive Director Ray Evans said Monday they knew the asbestos shingles would have to be removed.
“The floor tiles probably have asbestos in them and also the wiring and lead-based paint on the outside of the building,” he said. “We know that’s an issue that will have to be taken care of before we can start to work. We’ve postponed the bid letting until after we get that worked out with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.”
He said one significant change in the appearance of the old building will be on the north end. The loading dock was originally a covered carport-like area with pavers.
“We’re hoping they are still under there and we’ll be able to use them,” he said. “We are going to use original components as much as we can.”
The parking lot, driveway and retaining walls are finished. Once the exterior work is completed, restoration of the building will begin.
Evans said the depot will be restored in two phases. The first phase included grading the entrance and exit to the property, building retaining walls, replacing a section of sewer line and manhole, and erecting a fence between the depot and railroad tracks.
The second phase will be restoration of the building that was placed on the National and Tennessee Register of Historic Places in April 2008.
Some of the materials will be updated. The roof will have the appearance of the original terra cotta tile, but the new tiles will be made of aluminum.
The train depot will become the central transfer point for the Cleveland Urban Area Transit System and office complex, in keeping with its original purpose of mass transportation when it was built in 1909 at a cost of $17,400, which included the property.
The last passenger trains serving the depot quit running in the late 1970s.
The $208,000 for Phase I was a 100 percent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 grant through the Federal Transit Administration to the local transit system and SETHRA. The building will be paid for by an 80/20 matching Transportation Enhancement program, also using ARRA funds passed through the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the city of Cleveland. The federal government will pay $451,000 and SETHRA will be responsible for about $113,000.