LOVINGSTON - A former depot in Gladstone targeted for a major restoration into a community center and transportation museum is in need of a new zoning district designation.
The Nelson County Planning Commission voted on Jan. 22 to advertise a public hearing to make the depot on Gladstone Road near the railroad tracks a Business (B-1) zoning district.
Friends of Gladstone Depot, a nonprofit that formed in 2017 in an effort to save the building from being demolished by its previous owner, Florida-based CSX Corporation. The building was built in 1889 and the group is raising money to restore it and have it serve as a historical attraction.
Joanne Ashber, president of Friends of Gladstone Depot, said the nonprofit finalized the purchase for $20,000 in the fall and intends to move it to the site of a former YMCA facility that was demolished in May 2018. Ashber said the group is optimistic about its plans to restore the old depot, is applying for various grants and plans to begin an annual fundraiser possibly this year.
Dylan Bishop, Nelson’s planning and zoning director, said now that the railroad no longer is affiliated with the property it is necessary to zone the land accordingly. The planned future use of a community center and transportation museum are permitted by-right uses in the B-1 district, she said.
“Staff believes this is the appropriate zoning designation due to the proposed uses, and the location and proximity to additional B-1 zoning,” Bishop told commissioners.
A date has not yet been scheduled for the hearing, Bishop said Monday. “There’s no rush on this,” she said to the commission.
The project could take several years to bring to fruition, according to Ashber. A GoFundMe page has been set up to the raise money for the endeavor.
“Gladstone has kind of lost everything,” Ashber said of the project bringing life to the community.
A senior group that was using the former YMCA had to relocate. Ashber said when she was a child Gladstone was a beautiful village. “It can be that again,” she added.
About a 20-mile stretch or so west of the Gladstone community on the U.S. 60 corridor, a restored train depot in the town of Amherst serves as Amherst County’s visitor center and houses the county’s chamber of commerce and economic development authority. After many years of efforts to bring that project to fruition, the Amherst depot opened to much fanfare in 2017.
Ashber said she’s hopes to see a similar scene play out in Gladstone with its depot project.
She said a goal for the museum aspect of the depot’s restoration is to honor the many railroad workers who labored there. A memory wall where friends and loved ones could sponsor commemorative bricks is a fundraising goal, according to Ashber.
“I hope this is the beginning of revitalizing this community,” she said.
Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.