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Lexington’s new Depot District denied $24 million grant

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LEXINGTON, N.C. – It may take a little longer for construction to get started on the city’s new Depot District.

On Tuesday, city leaders learned that the project was denied for a $24 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant also known as a “TIGER” grant.

Tammy Absher is the director of business and community development for the city and has been working hard on the new Depot District.

She calls the news “a bump in the road.”

"It was disappointing," Absher said.

"I felt very confident, that we were so close to finalizing everything,” she said.

The project will likely have to be pushed back.

"We could have gotten a six-month head start," she said.

Absher says the Depot District competed with many other projects across the country to get the funding, but only 40 projects were picked.

"It was just so competitive this year," Absher said.

The money would have made a huge dent in the project’s $39 million price tag.

"That would have been great because it would have jump started everything," she said.

Absher says the new depot will support growth happening all over the Uptown district from a new amphitheater to new restaurants and businesses.

“There will be redevelopment to support the train station and the train station will support the surrounding new businesses," Absher said.

Absher says not getting the grant won't stop the project from moving forward.

The city will apply for another transportation grant in the spring and apply to others in the meantime.

"It definitely doesn't cause me to lose hope in the whole project," she said.

The Lexington Depot District has been in development since 2004.

The goal is to have the first train stop at the depot between 2018 and 2019.