One East Tennessee community looking to preserve a part of its past will now have some help from the state.
The city of Niota, in McMinn County, learned it would receive $156,800 from TDOT Wednesday to repair its train depot. The structure, which has existed since 1854, now serves as the town's city hall.
The Niota Depot Preservation Committee had applied for a grant from TDOT to address structural issues in the facility. According to Niota Mayor Lois Preece, the city had noticed soil shifting around the depot's foundation. She also said dripping water from the depot's drainage system had been deteriorating the structure's mortar.
Mintie Willson, president of the preservation committee, said the grant should help her group save the depot from any more wear and tear.
"Now, we will be able to take care of the major problems that we have," Willson said.
In an effort to raise even more money to preserve the train depot, the preservation committee will hold a Fried Green Tomato Festival Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The festival, which will include a car show, beauty pageant, historical tours, and a Civil War Encampment, will also have a number of special guests. Miss Tennessee USA Ashley Ingram, recording artist Eric Curtis and TV chef Ginny McCormack will also attend.
"It's themed as an old-fashioned festival and there will be plenty of fried green tomatoes," said committee member Frances Powers.