Although construction on the 1,500-square-foot platform finished about a month ago, City Councilman Otis Hammock said the project spanned about a decade.
“In 2006, the Downtown Development Authority really started improving the area by landscaping, adding sidewalks and other projects,” he said. “The location where the train-watching platform is now was just a gravel parking lot and a real eyesore. We wanted to do something to make the area beautiful and functional.”
Because the 1893 city sprang up next to the railroad and because visitors expressed an interest in viewing trains from the location, the council approved the platform.
“This project is really about moving forward with our downtown area while preserving an important part of Locust Grove’s history,” said Mayor Robert Price.
However, the construction efforts for the project did not run without a hitch.
“We certainly had some issues when we first began working on the platform,” said City Manager Tim Young. “Rain delays and running into old railroad ties and a pipe prolonged the construction.”
The project cost about $247,000 and was paid for through the hotel/motel tax and county special purpose local option sales tax.
Now that it is complete, Main Street Director Mallory Rich said the platform will be a multi-functional location for everyone to enjoy, including an audio feed from a scanner carrying chatter between engineers and dispatchers.
“There are benches and picnic areas where people can enjoy lunch or host an event,” she said, “and we’ve already had rail fans from different places come out to the area to watch the trains and listen to the special radio system that was installed so fans could listen, as well.”
Construction also included a new, natural water infiltration parking area, LED lighting and a pedestrian crosswalk across Ga. 42, the city’s main thoroughfare, leading to shops and restaurants across the street.