GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — The city of Gulfport is trying to turn what was once a busy train depot into a shopping destination.
The historic old train depot in downtown Gulfport stopped operating in the early fifties.
Since then, it has served as a temporary site for a restaurant and a museum.
The city spent about half a million dollars bringing the entire building back to life, and some businesses are moving in, WLOX TV reported (http://bit.ly/ZKLeMj).
"We gutted it. We repaired all the Katrina damage. We repaired the damage that happens when buildings deteriorate over time and restored it to its historical state. It's beautiful! We're really excited for what we have to show for it," said Lisa Bradley, Gulfport Business and Economic Development Coordinator.
The Tanya Tancredi Salon is the first business to open in the depot.
"It's so beautiful being down here. We just love the tall windows and all the natural light that comes in and you just have this historic feeling being down here. I love it," said Sherry Pucheu, one of the stylists at the salon.
Sean Smith Photography will move into the depot in May. Back on the Rack, an upscale resale store will set up shop this summer.
"We'd love to see some dress shops. Some shoe stores, more destination shopping for the locals to give people more reason to walk around downtown and see all the businesses down here," Pucheu said. "There's a renaissance down here. It's coming back alive and it's a good feeling to be down here and be a part of that revival."
The City of Gulfport will celebrate the grand reopening of the train depot on Thursday, March 7.
"We're doing so well downtown with our night life and dining, and it's making a walkable place to be. But people want to know, what else they can do? What they can do now is shop," said Bradley
Information from: WLOX-TV, http://www.wlox.com