FLOWERY BRANCH – City leaders are considering a cosmetic touchup for a pair of icons that have graced downtown Flowery Branch for nearly 130 years: the train depot and the historic caboose.
According to the city’s website, in 1873, during Reconstruction, railroad tracks were laid connecting Atlanta with Charlotte, North Carolina. The following year the city of Flowery Branch was established along those new rails, and in 1890 the railroad constructed a depot for the young city, picking up passengers, cotton, mail, leather goods and furniture.
The depot was retired in 1957 as regular, scheduled stops in the southern Hall County municipality came to an end. In 2001 the depot was moved across the street to its current location and fully restored the following year. It now serves as a venue for business meetings, weddings and other similar functions.
But even with a full restoration 18 years ago, frequent use combined with strong visitor appeal, means the depot and the caboose (circa late 1800s) both need a little touch-up work.
Members of the Flowery Branch City Council heard Thursday evening that only one contractor submitted a bid to do the work: Gwinnett Window and Door, LLC, says they can do the specified repairs for $24,896 plus a 10% contingency bringing the total cost to $27,386.
Flowery Branch City Manager Bill Andrew told council members that he is not overly concerned that only one bid was submitted. Andrew explained that he has worked with Gwinnett Window and Door in the past and seen the quality of the work they do. He said he did not expect any problems if they were awarded the job.
Included in the cost of the work on both properties are roofing replacement, trim replacement, ceiling repair, exterior painting and replacement of rotting wood around window and exterior door frames.
Andrew said he has waited to have the repair work done until a fiscal year ends with some unused reserve funds available, and now is that time. “What we typically do is try to wait to see if we…have some money left over, we kind of save it up for these types of repairs that we know need to be done.”
As Fiscal Year 2020 comes to an end Andrew sees some limited funding available for the project. “If you burn this money at the beginning of the year then you’re left with nothing in case there’s something that goes wrong with another building.”
The city council will decide on whether or not to allocate those funds a little closer to the end of the fiscal year when they meet on June 18th.