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Depot paint job a boost for downtown scene

For many years, the old Railroad Depot downtown that housesBrookhaven’s military museum was the first thing people noticedwhen they entered the city by train.

And still, some travelers see it first.

“We’ve had as high as 100 people come in here from Memphis onthe AMTRAK to go to the museum,” said Paul Jackson, Sr., who servedon the depot committee for more years than he can remember. “Thereare also a lot of other groups from different places that come intoBrookhaven to visit the museum and they go all over Brookhaven.That helps the city as well as the museum.”

It is indisputable that the depot is still a historic treasureto the Brookhaven area.

But until this week, Jackson said, he can’t remember thebuilding ever getting a good coat of paint. And his memory goesback a long time.

“I served on the depot committee for several years back when itwas put on the National Register, and with it being on the NationalRegister, we’re proud of the fact that it is,” he said. “We want tokeep it looking as well as we can.”

That was the reason, Jackson said, that he thought it wasimportant to urge the city to get the white parts of the buildingpainted. But there was also basic civic pride.

“The other reason is that I grew up in Brookhaven and it’salways been that most all of us were proud of having the depotthere,” he said. “A lot of other towns and cities, their depotshave deteriorated and they don’t have them anymore, and that makesthem real important to the local community.”

Therefore, a crew from Washington Painting has been working onthe Depot all week, restoring the bright white trim and fixtures.Keeping the building up is also important to the overall look ofthe downtown, Jackson said.

“The main thing was that we’re trying to beautify the city andwe wanted to keep the depot in line with the other buildings, thatwas one of the main reasons I was for it,” he said. “Two, it’s justabout pride in the community and pride in the city to have thedepot looking real good.”

Mayor Bob Massengill said the project is one city leaders areglad to have had brought to their attention.

“The city of Brookhaven owns the depot and it is one of our mosthistoric and recognizable buildings,” Massengill said. “We’re gladthat at this time we were able to get the exterior painted. Itneeded to be done and we’re glad we could do it.”

City officials said there’s not a clear time frame on when thejob will be complete, but Jackson said he’s just excited to see thefinished product.

“It’ll all look good when it’s finished and the mayor has done agreat job getting it done,” he said. “We really appreciate it.”