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Archive for Thursday, August 9, 2012

Baldwin City trying to get dinner train

August 9, 2012

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BALDWIN CITY — Baldwin City officials are entering negotiations with a Nebraska dinner train to move the business to Midland Railway.

This week, Baldwin City Council members gave City Administrator Chris Lowe the authority to discuss incentives the city might be willing to provide to Fremont Dinner Train.

Bruce Eveland, manager of the dinner train and one of five investors in the business, had asked the city for financial help moving the business, which has operated the past 24 years on the Fremont and Elkhorn Valley Railroad.

“It seems like we’ve been in the Olympics all year long,” he said. “We’ve received a tremendous amount of help. We’ve cleared a lot of hurdles, and we can see the finish line. We need just a little more help.”

In a memo to the council, the cost of moving to Baldwin City was pegged at $220,000. The owners have secured all but $25,000.

City help with that shortfall would be unprecedented, Mayor Ken Wagner said.

“This is uncharted waters,” he said. “To my knowledge, the city has never done anything like this to lure a company like this to the community. But, we all have to realize we are in a different time.”

Motivating all the interest is the tourism potential of the dinner cars. Eveland said the restaurant draws 8,000 to 9,000 riders a year to its Fremont site from a 150-mile radius to the east, north and south and 250 miles to the west. He said there is more than twice the population within similar distances of Baldwin City.

A total of 6,000 visitors to the community would mean $8,760 a year in additional revenue for the city from sales, bed and liquor tax receipts, Eveland said.

The dinner restaurant operates year-round in heated and air-conditioned cars and has about 15 part-time employees.

Comments

blue73harley 1 year, 8 months ago

The dinner train sound kind of fun to me. But then again, I enjoy eating at Taco Bell. Carry on.

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Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 8 months ago

All power to Baldwin. Many of us at the time resented the tracks being taken out between Lawrence and Baldwin.

Now, think of the possibilities for that - it would be great to take the train to Baldwin for dinner or for an afternoon, plus there would possibly be many more students at Baker.

There would be far greater attention to the park there, which features the first aspects of the Civil War, as well as additional areas for hiking and for building houses.

A GREAT mistake!

Is it possible to rectify this?

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oldbaldguy 1 year, 8 months ago

Bad idea. We do need a decent place to eat in Baldwin. They had more rail line in Nebraska. This will not sell. Didn't they used to offer this in Baldwin and it flopped?

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gccs14r 1 year, 8 months ago

Why is the Fremont Dinner Train moving? If it's successful where it is, it seems more reasonable to build a second one, rather than move the first. And it's too bad that the tracks between Lawrence and Baldwin were ripped out, or the train could have come up here. (Never mind being able to use the rails for commuters.)

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Caz Snwot 1 year, 8 months ago

Baldwin needs to work on having a decent restaurant that doesn't have wheels first... then we can start thinking bigger.

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