US Dept. of Agriculture awards 300K grant to Depot Park: First phase of construction eminent

Drew Butler
An artist's rendering of the completed Depot Park. The first phase of construction should be beginning soon, after the State Historic Preservation Office gives their final approval to the plans.

Late last week the United States Department of Agriculture notified the Ardmore Main Street Authority they had been approved for a $300,000 grant for Depot Park. When added to other funds already in place, the grant will give the organization enough funding on hand to begin construction on the first phase of the park.

Todd Yeager, chair of the AMSA board of trustees, said phase one will include all of the main infrastructure and several key elements of the park. While the board would love to get started as soon as possible, Yeager pointed out it is not quite that simple.

“The first step in the process is getting approval from the State Historic Preservation Office,” Yeager said. “We’ve recently submitted the last round of the plan to their office, and we’ve made all of the changes they suggested. Right now they’re within their allotted time frame to review everything, so we’re just waiting to hear back.”

If SHPO suggests any changes in the plan, it will then go back to the architect for corrections. After resubmitting it, SHPO has at least 30 days to review the changes and approve or deny the final plan. If they approve the plan, it can move on to the next phase. If it’s denied, the corrections and 30-day review process begin again.

Once SHPO gives their approval to go ahead, construction will then go out to bid. The bidding process from start to finish can take well over a month, but Yeager is confident the park will be breaking ground soon.

“We want to show the public that we’re going to get this done,” Yeager said. “People have donated to us, they’ve waited with us, and it's definitely been a long drawn-out process. As a board we just feel it is so important to let the public and our donors see things beginning to take shape. We are doing anything and everything that we can to get this done.”

Yeager said even after construction begins on phase one, the organization will continue fundraising until they have enough to completely finish Depot Park.