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Posted: October 16, 2012 8:48 p.m.

Railroad donates new box car to P'dale

A box car restroom for Yellow River Park is in the works for the city of Porterdale.

Norfolk Southern Railroad company has agreed to donate the box car to the city of Porterdale, which will be converted into a public restroom for the developing downtown area. It will eventually be converted into restrooms for both men and women, and they hope to have it ready next fall and are currently seeking grant money.

The city laid down new railroad tracks specifically for the box-car restroom. Former Mayor Bobby Hamby came up with the idea. He contacted Norfolk Southern, which then agreed to donate a box car.

After receiving the go ahead, Porterdale began investigating costs and then started applying for grants. They received a grant from the James Hyde Porter Trust to cover the cost of relocation. The box car will be delivered within the next few weeks.

Newton Trails, a nonprofit organization, was also in part of the innovation of the depot. They partnered with Yellow River Park and in 2006 developed the loop walking trail. They are also helping provide benches, trash cans, and other resources to develop the area around the depot. The next focus for Newton Trails will be to raise money to do the actual conversion of the box car. The track is 80 feet long and cost around $12,000.

Porterdale City Manager Bob Thomson said the laying of the railroad track brings a historic touch to the city of Porterdale. Box car renovations have been done statewide. The depot is currently being used by the Porterdale Yak Club, where residents are able to rent kayaks near the river. They also hold concerts and other community events there as well. Maurice Carter, chairman of Newton Trails, feels the renovations will draw in residents and the community as a whole.

"I feel this is a huge economic impact to the city for tourism and attraction," Carter said.

The group is currently seeking more grants. For more information on the nonprofit organization visit, newtontrails.com.

 

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