Kiwanis Club of Greater Ada works to update, replace train at Wintersmith park

Published: May. 19, 2019 at 8:42 PM CDT
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The Kiwanis Club of Greater Ada has served the community since 1958 by operating the Kiwanis Kiddie Park at Wintersmith park.

Ashley Curtis, an Ada resident and mother of three, remembers riding the train when she was little.

'Now, I get to take my kids or used to take my kids to ride the train and have their birthday parties at the park and have the train rides with their friends," Curtis said.

Curtis said her family usually rides the train each year.

"I like to ride it all around with my friends," her seven-year-old son, Jace Curtis, said.

About 30 volunteer members built the first engine and 1800 feet of track through the park in 1958.

The train is on its second engine now and has been chugging along for the last 30 years.

However, Don Mauch, Kiwanis Club president, said the current train likely does not have many miles left, tracks and bridges are wearing out and rain has washed out parts of the road bed several times.

"We keep working on it, keep modifying, keep updating," Mauch said. "But thanks to the floods this spring, we just can't keep up anymore."

The Kiwanis Club is now taking on a project to save the train by replacing the engine, cars, and tracks an estimated total of $500,000.

"It'll be all new," Mauch said. "It'll be new train, new track, everything."

A new engine alone will run about $225,000 and replacing the track would cost about $70 a foot.

Mauch said the new train will also have handicapped accessible cars.

The club is exploring options for raising money such as grants and private donations

It is planning a fundraiser golf tournament on June 3

Mauch said the current train will be running later this summer and hopes past generations of riders can help save the Ada icon.

"It's not just a casual thing," he said. "It is part of the community."