Exeter plans to buy gazebo

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

City looks to fill void of removed caboose

With the caboose on Main Street in Exeter gone after 27 years, the city is looking for a way to fill the void it has left, and it may have a solution.

Rusty Reed, mayor of Exeter, said the city is planning to buy a gazebo to put where the caboose once stood.

"We're going to check into it and plan to get a prefabricated, concrete gazebo," he said. "We decided we should put it there because it will look pretty nice."

The city plans to go with a concrete gazebo to cut down on vandalism, which was a problem with the caboose and one of the reasons the city sold it.

Reed said the city does not have a set budget for the gazebo, but it hopes to get one up soon.

"I think it's something people will use, and hopefully, we'll have some events out there," Reed said.

Exeter sold the caboose for $11,300 to the Midland Railway Historical Association. It will be used on the Midland Railway, a privately-owned, non-profit tourist railway that runs from Baldwin, Kan., to Ottawa Junction, Kan.

"We either had to get rid of the caboose or spend a lot of money fixing it," Reed said.

Per the original donation agreement, the city was required to keep the caboose in good condition, and that has been a challenge over the years.

Rhonda Scott, Exeter alderwoman, said vandalism has been the main culprit in keeping the caboose from being in top shape.

"Vandalism happens, and we have to spend a lot of money to constantly fix it and keep it fixed up," she said. "The windows have been busted out several times."

The caboose was donated to the city in 1987, under former Mayor Marjorie Hopkins.

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