LULA — After more than 18 months of discussion and a couple more months of logistics, the Lula Depot now belongs to the city.
Late Friday afternoon, nearly three dozen people gathered inside the depot to celebrate the final signing of documents and transfer of keys from Lula Area Betterment Association President Mery Barbee to Mayor Milton Turner.
Construction on the depot began when Turner served as president of LABA some 30 years ago.
“Back in the ‘80s, I was president of LABA,” Turner said. “We started the building under my presidency and blocks and everything were done. Someone else came along and took charge and got the building built. Then I got elected into politics and I felt like the best thing that could happen for both organizations is I stepped out of LABA and stayed strictly in politics.”
Turner said seeing the consummation of the sale of the depot to the city is important to him as mayor, but also personally.
“This building means a lot to me that we had something to be able to have Railroad Days with and those things compared to what we did in the early days,” Turner said.
Now, the building belongs to the city's taxpayers and soon will undergo remodeling in preparation for its future use by the city and community.
“With it coming back to the city now, it can be preserved,” Turner said. “The money is there that can be set aside to be able to start some renovations. We’re looking at that, and it actually now belongs to the citizens of the city and therefore we can preserve it for many, many years to come.”
Barbee is thankful the sale transfer is complete, saying LABA members have always felt the building should continue its service to the community.
“We’re very thankful,” Barbee said of the sale completion. “We contemplated doing other things with it, but we know this building was built for the people of Lula and the Lula area, and we wanted it to remain in the area and be a happy occasion, and it is a happy occasion today.”