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Gainesville considers moving Midland train engine
Gainesville City Council is considering moving Engine 209 located off of Jesse Jewell Parkway. - photo by SARA GUEVARA | The Times

The old black and red Gainesville Midland train that has been on display for more than 30 years in downtown Gainesville could be on the move.

City Council members are discussing the future of the train display on Jesse Jewell Parkway and Grove Street.
During the City Council retreat two weeks ago, council members asked what it would take to repaint an old green baggage car behind the display. That discussion turned into talk about moving the train.

Gainesville Public Works Director David Dockery said it would cost approximately $10,000 to repaint the old train car.

"Then there was just a free-form conversation about moving the train," Dockery said.

No contractors have been contacted about a price for the move at this point. Dockery said if the train were to move, it would require a crane, but there has not been any serious discussion as to whether or not the move is physically or financially feasible.

Mayor Danny Dunagan said moving the train is an option because the property the train is located on is "a very nice piece of property in the city."

Dunagan said the train could be moved to a park near the train depot in the Midtown greenway to help fix up the area.

Dunagan said he doubts the move would be anytime soon because the cost likely would be prohibitive.

The train has been at its present location since 1978.

Being exposed to rain and sun for so many years means the train has to be repainted and repaired periodically.

Dockery said the city spent $75,000 for major renovations on the train in 2004, five years part of the train had to be repainted at a cost of $4,000. Last year, a retaining wall was rebuilt for $6,000.

Dockery said he would expect building a shelter over the train would cost between $150,000 to $200,000.

"What we would really like to see is a cover put on it so we can cut down on the expense of maintaining it," Dunagan said.

Dockery said he is interested in creating a situation similar to the "adopt a park" programs in place at other community parks.

"We would love to find a community group that has interest in the train and would like to take on the upkeep as a community service project," Dockery said.