Several groups came together for the purpose of the former Interuban Depot restoration. To celebrate the completed project, the groups held a ribbon cutting. Pictured are, from left, representative for Senator Todd Young Thomas Barclay, Representative Bruce Borders, State Senator Jon Ford, Congressman Larry Bucshon, Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb, Shelburn clerk-treasurer Jay Southwood, Shelburn Town Council President James Ward, Senator Mike Braun representative Jan Hicks, Shelburn councilmember Mark Shroyer, West Central Economic Development Terry Jones and Director of the Indiana Landmarks Western Regional Office Tommy Kleckner. Photo by KRISTI SANDERS
Several groups came together for the purpose of the former Interuban Depot restoration. To celebrate the completed project, the groups held a ribbon cutting. Pictured are, from left, representative for Senator Todd Young Thomas Barclay, Representative Bruce Borders, State Senator Jon Ford, Congressman Larry Bucshon, Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb, Shelburn clerk-treasurer Jay Southwood, Shelburn Town Council President James Ward, Senator Mike Braun representative Jan Hicks, Shelburn councilmember Mark Shroyer, West Central Economic Development Terry Jones and Director of the Indiana Landmarks Western Regional Office Tommy Kleckner. Photo by KRISTI SANDERS
For many years, Shelburn clerk-treasurer Jay Southwood, has entertained a lofty vision for the now-restored former Interuban Depot building located on Mill Street, just west of the CSX Railroad.

U.S. Representative Larry Bucshon also spoke of his vision during the Shelburn Interurban Depot ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday morning.

A large turnout of interested county officials and, hopefully for town officials, potential tenants also attended the event.

"We're hoping this building is a cornerstone to start bringing this town back," Southwood stated. "(The town) will never be what it was when I was growing up, it had a lot of commerce. But that's OK too. We build with what we've got.

"The purpose of this is to generate interest. We hope, down the road, to turn this into a bar and restaurant. We obtained a three-way alcohol permit for this property four years ago. It's been in escrow. So, once we find a tenant, then they can operate off that permit. That's part of the plan."

Bucshon reflected about his time growing up in the small town of Kincaid, Illinois.

"The only thing left of the old train stop is the old floor," he recalled. "It's still there right by the train tracks. It's like a little parquet-type floor. It's still there. Unfortunately, not a wonderful building like this … now it's been transformed into this great facility."

Bucshon went on to say communities like Shelburn are the backbone of our nation's economy.

"All across west-central Indiana and the entire Hoosier State, empty storefronts are beginning to find new tenants in smaller communities," Bucshon said. "The buildings are being refurbished. Main Streets are starting to come back to life in communities like Shelburn.

"So it's incredible to see a site like this saved and reimagined for the 21st century. For the citizens of Shelburn and everyone passing through."

Bucshon said he has encouraged these types of renovations at the national level by helping lift restrictions that hurt job growth and limit access to capital. Also, try to help people access federal grants where those are available "to do things like this.

"I'm told you're hoping to get a restaurant in here so that people will come here," he continued. "That would be great. I can tell you, if you get a restaurant in here, I'll come here for lunch or dinner."

Bucshon jokingly suggested an Italian theme, or a steakhouse, or "pizza's always good. But I'll look forward to come to this area and be supportive and do everything I can to help more projects like this across rural Indiana."

As for a possible tenant, Southwood said several persons have expressed interest during a pair of open houses held at the building in recent weeks.

Southwood added the town has since acquired a property just to the west, closing on that Friday.

"There's one thing about Sullivan County, it is what it is and that's the way it is in Shelburn, there's no zoning," he explained. "So for commercial purposes, basically you've got to get the property around you to protect all this property you have invested in."

Southwood said this is not just one project, as the town has also acquired the former bank building across the street, which closed in 2014. Also acquired in recent years was a former factory property located across the railroad and across the street. A grant was used to demo that building, the town then acquired the property with the goal of a park to revitalize that area.

This building was operated as a Interurban Depot from June 1906 to midnight on May 24, 1931, according to research of archival records by Southwood.

"It has been a major component to the commerce of this town at that time," he said. "There were 30 businesses in downtown Shelburn. They used this (building) heavily for freight, in-and-out products and also as a passenger train."

Since 1931, he noted it's been a restaurant, American Legion post, even a pool hall for a short time in 1970s, then a factory.

"Then it just went into disarray, the factory went away. It just stayed boarded up for 20 to 25 years," Southwood said.

After the building was acquired by a donation, the town began the restoration project in 2012 when they received an Indiana Landmarks grant for a feasibility study, which was completed in 2013. This was followed by a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs for a formal renovation plan for commercial or retail use.

The depot was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in December 2015, then underwent its exterior renovation which was completed in late 2017. The last step was the interior renovation completed earlier this year.

Many organizations and businesses were recognized in this restoration at Monday's event, including the West Central Indiana Economic Development District, OCRA, Strode Construction and Keymark Company. Also attending were two members of the Shelburn Town Council, James Ward and Mark Shroyer; State Senator Jon Ford; State Representative Bruce Borders; Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb; persons representing U.S. Senators Mike Braun and Todd Young; and the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce (John Montgomery and Brandy Wolfe).
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