NC Transportation Museum praises $10 million included in state budget for facility in state budget

Published 12:08 am Sunday, November 28, 2021

SPENCER — The North Carolina Transportation Museum says it will use $10 million from the state budget to complete a renovation and restoration project and to house historic passenger cars.

Earlier this month, the Republican-led General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, signed into law a compromise 2021-23 state budget that will spend $25.9 billion in the current fiscal year, which started July 1, and $27 billion in the 2022-23 year.

The museum will also receive $280,000 to recover lost revenue from the pandemic.

The N.C. Transportation Museum funding was among about $70 million in state money headed to local projects or organizations. Others included Bell Tower Green, Rowan Museum, a new position in the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office and Partners in Learning.

Part of the transportation museum’s funds will be used to renovate and restore the Spencer Shops Powerhouse, established in 1896. The building will be renovated to provide special event space and a place for traveling exhibits.

The North Carolina Transportation Museum will receive $10 million in state funding to complete the renovation and restoration project of the Spencer Shops Powerhouse that dates to 1896, and for the Car Shed to house the museum’s passenger cars. This restoration project will help preserve the rich history of North Carolina transportation.

“These projects will allow us to engage our visitors, increase our economic impact and preserve our equipment for years to come,” said Kelly Alexander, executive director of the museum.

The car shed will offer cover to the museum’s passenger car fleet. The museum continues to acquire and restore rail equipment such as passenger cars, and coverage will ensure such equipment is shielded from the sun and other natural elements that can result in rapid deterioration.

“These buildings are essential to our continued growth in expanding exhibits, providing protected storage for the restored passenger equipment and providing support facilities for our outdoor car, truck and fire truck shows” said Roy Johnson, president of the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation.

The N.C. Transportation Museum is home to the largest remaining operational roundhouse in North America, and numerous structures that represent what was once Southern Railway’s largest steam locomotive repair facility in the Southeast. The museum is part of the Division of Historic Sites and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.