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Turning Run-down Buildings into Bright Futures

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WILSON/ROCKY MOUNT — Some old buildings are bringing new life to some downtown areas down East.

Supporters say your tax dollars are turning run-down buildings into bright futures for Wilson and Rocky Mount.

While many of us might head straight to the airport for our next big trip, Ruth Hinton drives straight to the train station. She's ridingAmtrakfor the four hour trip from Rocky Mount to Washington.

"Most times it's very comfortable. I can stretch out. I can walk about. I can get food, and I can meet people, which I love to do," Hinton said.

Many people who spend our tax money are banking on the train as a major player in 21st century travel. Rocky Mount's old train station is undergoing a two year renovation that will make it more attractive to visitors.

Eighty percent of the $6 million price tag is federal money. The rest comes from state and local taxes.

Supporters say the investment is an effective way to boost the image of both downtown areas.

"We think it sends a message to our community, both the business community and others that we care about downtown, that we care about the twin counties, the region," said Charlie Glazener of the Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce.

Wilson's station handled 20,000 passengers last year. Rocky Mount handled a few thousand more. Supporters hope the numbers in both towns will increase as people discover the improvements.

Conventional trains might not be the only things you see at the newly-renovated stations.

Governor Hunt hopes North Carolina will eventually be home to some high-speed trains.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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