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Lula chugging along with downtown plans, including phase 2 of train depot work
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This stage in Lula has been upgraded to match the exterior of the city's recently renovated train depot, with brick and cedar shake siding as well as a new roof. The stage is often used for events such as Railroad Days. - photo by Nick Bowman

Lula finished renovations on its depot building downtown in September, and now, the city is almost done with the second phase of the project, which focuses on the depot grounds and stage.

The stage, which is often used for events such as Railroad Days, has been upgraded to match the depot exterior, with brick and cedar shake siding. It also got a new roof.

The area around the depot also has some new landscaping and parking.

City Manager Dennis Bergin said the work should be completely done within the next few weeks. The space should be available for rental by late December or early January, he said, and officials are working to determine rental fees based on comparable facilities in the area.

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The newly renovated train depot in Lula, pictured Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, includes some outdoor LED lighting. - photo by Nick Bowman

Bergin said he hopes the depot space can give downtown a boost.

“Our goal overall is to have community functions as well as to support and enhance the downtown businesses — those we have and those that are coming,” Bergin said.

The city is also hiring a part-time Main Street manager. Bergin said he hopes to start advertising for the position soon.

Main Street America is a nationwide downtown development program that is overseen at the state level by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Several local cities, including Gainesville and Dahlonega, have Main Street programs.

“They’re going to assist us with our development authority, with our business association, new and existing business development, and community projects and events at the depot, and work with our historical society,” Bergin said.

The Lula Business Association formed this year so businesses could work together to promote events and strengthen the business community. The association has received support from the city but is a separate entity from the local government. 

The city government has also stepped in to form a development authority, which has not yet met or appointed members.

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The rear of the renovated Lula train depot, pictured Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, facing the outdoor stage. Both the depot exterior and stage have been updated. - photo by Nick Bowman
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