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Published: Thursday, 6/26/2003

Holland denied rail-park grant

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Holland officials were happy to hear they had been awarded a state grant to make improvements to Strawberry Acres Park but irked to find that a similar amount was denied for a long-discussed but still nonexistent railroad park.

Mayor Mike Yunker said it may be necessary to reduce the scope of the project initially, “but we're dedicated to the whole project,” he said of the railroad park.

Its major attraction is meant to be a 1976 train caboose that was jointly acquired in September, 1999, by the village and Springfield Township but has been sitting behind the township hall.

There have been discussions about eventually acquiring an old railroad depot and furnishing it with turn-of-the-century railroad memorabilia.

The mayor noted that the village will continue to seek grant money for the proposed park.

Mr. Yunker said he would meet with township officials to determine if local funds can be found to build at least a bed for the caboose at the site of the planned park on Front Street near Clark Street, in the village.

Township administrator Bob Anderson said he wants to work with village officials to get the park project started. He said some time will be needed to work on the caboose before it can be moved. It needs painting, the windows are broken, and welding may be necessary on some metal parts, he said.

The grant of $29,392, which was approved for Strawberry Acres Park, will allow paving for some parking near Clarion Avenue and for paving a path between the park and the Holland branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.

The village had sought about $30,000 to move and situate the caboose and for fencing and other items at the proposed site for the railroad park.

It is meant to be the beginning of a trail that officials hope to construct to the west, eventually hooking up with both township and school property to connect with area parks and go as far as Albon Road. The trail may eventually go north, Mayor Yunker said, and connect to the University-Parks Trail, which goes from the University of Toledo to King Road, near Sylvania Avenue.



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