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Published: Wednesday, 10/11/2006

Sylvania Historical Village seeks funds for train projects

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania Historical Village is seeking financial support as it makes tracks toward two key projects: construction of a $325,000 building to house two train cars and restoration of an electric locomotive.

Sylvania city officials are considering the funding requests, but they have made no decisions.

Plans call for the historical society's locomotive to be moved from Sylvania to Maumee, where it would be restored.

Boyd Montgomery, chairman of the Sylvania Historical Village, requested that the city allocate up to $25,000 from the Historical Village trust fund to cover expenses involved in moving the engine from Sylvania to the Andersons' train repair building, and then moving it back to the village property.

According to Mr. Montgomery, the Andersons has agreed to restore the metal on the engine, paint the locomotive its original black, and stencil lettering onto the engine.

The Andersons would do the work at no cost to the historical village, Mr. Montgomery said.

About $46,000 is available in the historical village's trust fund; the fund was set up as part of the operating agreement when the historical village was created, officials said.

City Council made no decision last week about the allocation of funds to move the locomotive.

Officials want additional information about the trust fund and for what the funds can be used.

The electric railroad locomotive that is housed at the historical village began service from a roundhouse in downtown Sylvania about 90 years ago.

Built in 1915, the locomotive was part of the Toledo and Western Railroad, a system that brought new business and electricity to the small village of Sylvania. The agreement that led to the railroad in the village included a deal that directed excess electricity generated by the company to be used by homes and businesses along Main Street. At the time, the railroad regularly had 40 trains a day passing through Sylvania.

During discussions about the locomotive restoration, Mayor Craig Stough said that the historical village is seeking $50,000 from the city to help pay for construction of a building to house the train cars. The building would be located on the historical village's property at 5715 North Main St.

Erecting a building to house the two train cars was part of the bargain the historical village commission reached with the Waterfront Electric Railway Museum of Grand Rapids, Ohio, which donated the cars. The caboose is in good condition, but the locomotive, stored for years outside at the Toledo Edison Acme plant, suffered some damage because of exposure to the weather.

The Historical Village property is about three blocks from where the train operated decades ago. At one time, the locomotive operated from an area where Sautter's 5 Star Market is located today in the 5500 block of South Main Street.

In the request to the city for funding for the building project, Mr. Montgomery said, "An accurate and modified roundhouse is necessary in order to preserve the electric locomotive and refurbished caboose from the elements. School programs that occur throughout the year will benefit from programs designed specifically for this important transportation era of our country."

Estimated cost for the building is $325,000. The project's finance committee anticipates it would secure funding from private and public entities to put toward the cost. In the funding request letter, Mr. Montgomery noted that Sylvania Township trustees have provided financial assistance in the construction of three buildings in the historical village, which is a working museum with ongoing educational programs.

Contact Janet Romaker at:

jromaker@theblade.com or

419-724-6006.



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