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November 25, 2013

Restore and Preserve the Monticello Depot "in situ"

The politicians in Monticello, Mississippi have sat idly by and watched the historic depot deteriorate into a sad state. As a solution, they came up with the shocking idea of giving it away to another town. Only, Mrs. Clinton was one step ahead of them. She had the foresight to get the depot placed on both the National Historic Registry and the State Historic Registry. So, the good news is, it's not going anywhere any time soon.

Now, some people, aside from the politicians, think it would be a good idea to ship the Depot up to Jackson to let them restore it. I disagree for the following reasons:
1) The building has never been moved. It is in it's original location right now. If we're going to preserve our historic buildings, obviously we want to keep them in their original location if possible.
2) Moving the building would do grievous injury to it. There's no way to ship the building to Jackson without serious, fundamental damage to the structure. If you think that they'll reassemble it in Jackson, I say "How can you be so sure what they'll do with it once they have it?" I've certainly heard of buildings that were taken apart, board by board, carefully numbering each board, and then the building was never reassembled. It happens.
3) It would cost more to ship the Depot to Jackson and have them restore it, than it would cost to restore in its current location. This fact is undeniable. It's intuitively obvious to the casual observer.
4) Jackson doesn't have any more money to restore our depot than we do. We currently both have $0.00 set aside to restore the depot. Either Jackson can raise the money, or we can. We can apply to grants to match any funds raised in towards the restoration of the depot. We have many different avenues to pursue to raise funds. We can ask local business for money, apply for federal and state grants. All sorts of ways to raise money.

If you want to ship the Depot off to Jackson, hoping they will restore it and display it, you are certainly welcome to that opinion. Please feel free to start your own Facebook Group, but that's not what we are interested in doing.

A lot of people in town seem to like to attack us for not doing anything until the town decided to attempt to give away our historic landmark Depot. "Why," they ask, "did you wait until we decided to ship it off to Jackson before you did anything? Huh?"

Obviously, I don't drive down the road taking note of the state of repair of each structure I pass. Because I don't own them. So, it's none of my concern. Now, if I own a building, yes...I do tend to look at it and fret about it and think about doing repairs, here and there. But, if I don't own the building, I don't really pay much attention to it. I''d argue I'm not alone in this.

This is the reason that we didn't do anything before now with the Monticello Depot. Because we didn't know it was our responsibility. It makes me wonder how well the town is doing with it's other structures.

If you can avoid trying to prod us to tear our historic depot apart to ship off to another town in pieces, then you're welcome to join us for a civil discussion on how to fund the restoration "in situ" at this location: https://www.facebook.com/groups/monticello.depot/

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 25, 2013 at 12:45 AM


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