EAST LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- There's new life for an old, historic, and even iconic building in East Longmeadow.
The town planning board has just approved renovation plans for the former train depot.
The train depot in East Longmeadow is, to residents, an iconic symbol of the town's rich history. Built in the mid 1800's, the line connected East Hartford and Springfield.
The train stopped service in 1950. It was the community feed store serving local farmers for years.
Longtime East Longmeadow resident Steve Graham and his wife bought the depot about 10 years ago, hoping to preserve it.
Just recently, they also purchased three acres it sits on, from the frontage on Maple Street back to Maple Court, along the popular Redstone Rail Trail and just steps from the famous town rotary.
"It's a substantial site and I think we can do something really special with it and I think that the town is going to enjoy it," Graham explained.
With the okay from the planning board last week, Graham and his wife plan to fully restore the depot and turn it into an ice cream shop, at least to begin with.
"The plan right now is to have service out the two front windows. Outside, there'll be picnic tables. It will be landscaped. There'll be a little play area for little kids, there'll be plenty of parking," Graham said.
The inside, which is just about 800 square feet, Graham said is in remarkable shape, but of course, modern modifications will have to be made, all with room to grow.
"We're not sure how it's going to develop, but I can see us doing something with pastries and tea and coffee in the morning because this gets a lot of use," Graham added.
Graham told Western Mass News that after raising his children here and making a life here, it's time to give back.
"And we would like to do something very positive and fun for the town first. If we make a little money, great, but the first order of business is to make this something special for the town," Graham noted.
The Grahams also have plans for things like live music and children's events. As for the rest of the three acres, they say stay tuned.
If all goes as planned, the Grahams hope to have the depot open - at least for ice cream business - by July 4.