LEWISTON — A $200,000 federal grant will help renovate Lewiston’s Grand Trunk Railroad Depot beginning next month.

Paul Badeau of the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council and the Lewiston-Auburn Railroad learned Friday they had received the grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. It was part of $4 million in grants announced Friday.

In Lewiston, the money will go toward renovations to the building’s inside and outside, including upgrades to the utility connections, lead abatement and window repairs.

The L-A Railroad plans to rent the building to a restaurant.

“We have someone already very interested in the space,” Badeau said. “It’s an old building and it requires a lot of work. Basically, this is money to just fix it up and get it ready to rent.”

The depot, at 103 Lincoln St., was built in 1865 and was the destination for thousands of French-Canadian immigrants. It’s been vacant for more than 40 years, despite attempts to renovate and use the space — including as a tavern in 1990 and as a temporary home to model railroad enthusiasts.

Badeau said he expected the money to be in hand by mid-February. Work should begin soon afterward.

“Based on the current construction season, most contracts would be ready and willing to start as soon as possible,” Badeau said. “Most of the work is indoors, so the work does not have to wait on the winter.”

He said the job could wrap up in the next six months.

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