The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 30, 2013

Riding back into town

Train to make Memorial Day appearance, with carousel to follow; other rides in doubt

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The popular Kiwanitrain at Meadowlake Park should be operating as usual on Memorial Day weekend, but the carousel will be unavailable a little longer.

Construction of a shelter over the carousel is under way and not expected to be completed until late-June,or early July, said Jerald Gilbert, vice president of Enid Kiwanis Club, which operates the train. Enid City Commission voted to build a new carousel house last year. Gilbert said the work is slightly ahead of schedule.

“It’s starting to look like a carousel house,” he said.

The official opening date is Memorial Day, and Gilbert said there is no reason the Kiwanitrain won’t be ready to go. The car and airplane rides, though, may not be available this year. Plans called for construction of two separate shelters for those rides, but the work exceeded this year’s budget, and Gilbert, who also is city of Enid finance director, said those shelters probably will not be done until next year.

The normal train schedule is Memorial Day through Labor Day, but Gilbert said last year the train ran on weekends through October, and that may be done again this year.

“It requires less manpower, and the Kiwanis can still make money and people still like it,” Gilbert said.

The carousel and horses are operated by Kiwanis Club but owned by the city of Enid, said Jim McClain, city of Enid Public Works director. While work is going on, the carousel, horses and the other rides have been put in storage.

Cost to ride the train is $1.50 per person. Hours will be 6:30-9 p.m. weekdays and 3:30-9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day and possibly into October.

The rides at Meadowlake Park are the Kiwanis Club’s largest service project and largest fundraiser annually.

The club has operated a train in Meadowlake Park since 1955. The current train was purchased in 1963.

The club recently completed a total renovation of the 1.2 mile train track, and 95 percent of the track was repaired with new ties.

As part of the renovation work at the park, the concrete around the carousel and the Kiwanitrain building is being replaced, and a new ticket booth will be built.

New sidewalks will meet Americans With Disabilities Act standards, McClain said.

The old wooden building protecting the carousel from the elements was deteriorating, necessitating the new structure, which will be taller and configured differently. It will resemble a carousel from the 1940s, McClain said. The building will be made of metal and will be more colorful, making it more visible from the street. He estimated it will be 60 feet in diameter and 18-20 feet tall.

Estimated cost for the project is about $230,000 for the new building and sidewalks.

Anyone interested in more information or booking a private party can go to the Kiwanis website at www.enidkiwanis.com or Enid Kiwanis Club on Facebook.