MICKEY POWELL | Bulletin Staff Writer
The restoration of the historic former Bassett Train Depot will be a key part of efforts to revitalize the factory town’s business district, according to those involved in the efforts.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced last week that that the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state agency that helps fund community and economic development efforts in localities in and near the Appalachian Mountains, will provide Henry County a $500,000 grant toward restoring the depot.
The money will be coupled with donations from Bassett Furniture Industries and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. to assist with the restoration, said county Planning, Zoning and Inspections Director Lee Clark.
A new roof recently was installed on the depot “to help preserve what we have,” said Jeb Bassett, senior vice president for Bassett Furniture’s wooden furniture division.
“We hope to make a lot of improvements” to the building in the coming months, Clark said.
Planned improvements, Clark said, include repairing or replacing 32 windows and six entrance doors; repairing 12 large sliding dock doors that add “tremendous character” to the depot; priming, painting and repairing exterior brick and wood trim; installing heating, ventilation and air-conditioning in the depot’s lower portion; building two restrooms accessible to disabled people and replacing a large, deteriorated wooden deck at the loading dock.