Train project receives generous $25K pledge from local company
By Laurel Callaway
The Rocky Brook Rocket restoration project continues to move at full steam ahead. At Tuesday’s city council meeting, the council unanimously approved an agreement between the city and Alligare, LLC, in which the company has pledged to donate $25,000 towards the model train’s restoration.
In exchange, the city agreed to name the train depot which houses the ‘Rocket’ at Municipal Park the Alligare Depot.
This project was initiated to fully restore the 1955 G-16 model train that was built by the Miniature Train Company. The company produced over 240 train sets; however, only 50 are currently operational in the U.S.
Under the current plan, the train will be shipped to Las Vegas in December to begin the full renovation at Rick’s Restoration. The process, which will take 4-6 months, will be featured on the hit television show American Restoration on The History Channel.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $100K. The generous contribution from Alligare assists in fundraising efforts significantly.
“This is a small amount of money to pay when you consider the publicity Opelika will receive by being on The History Channel,” said Matthew Battles, Opelika Parks and Recreation Municipal Area Supervisor.
Besides extensive publicity, the restoration is expected to increase tourism to both the park and the city, increase sales revenue in the downtown area and continue to encourage more development and use of Municipal Park and its surrounding areas.
The city also believes this restoration will encourage continued improvements in the city, such as historic downtown and high school renovations.
Individuals in the community can contribute to the project by purchasing engraved brick pavers. These will be part of a walking path near the Alligare Depot to commemorate the undertaking.
“The pavers would make a good Christmas gift,” Battles said. The cost begins at $50 with all of the proceeds going to the restoration. Brick pavers can be purchased at the Opelika SportsPlex or the Denson Drive Recreation Center. They can also be ordered online at www.polarengraving.com/opelikaparksand recreation.
Donations to the “Wall of Fame” have three levels: bronze, silver and gold and range from $1,000 and up. For information on becoming a Wall of Fame donor, contact Battles at the Denson Drive Rec Center.