Campaign to help railway raise repair funds; Eudorafest to introduce 5K

Midland Railroad has started an internet fundraising campaign to help with the $380,000 in track repairs needed as a result of the Aug. 22 flooding.

Mike Bosch, Midland board member, said the goal of the Go Fund Me drive is to raise $85,000 that would be used to make additional repairs on the northern half of the 11-mile Midland track from Baldwin City to Norwood north of Ottawa. Midland’s fundraising page is nonprofit tourist excursion line and the Kansas Belle Dinner Train, which uses Midland’s track and locomotives, have been able to travel only from Baldwin City to the line’s midway point (called Nowhere) since the flooding, Bosch said.

Midland volunteers have made what repairs they can to the northern section, Bosch said. Additional work requires specialized equipment. To the south, bridge and culvert work will require the consultation of an engineer, which will further increase the repair bill, he said.

Donations would help with the repairs and the morale of the volunteers that keep Midland running, Bosch said. Meanwhile, Midland is searching for grants to help with the more extensive repairs, and is waiting to learn if Douglas and Franklin counties will qualify for FEMA emergency funding from the storm. The two counties made disaster declarations, which Gov. Sam Brownback signed. The federal government also must make a disaster finding before FEMA funds could be available. Bosch said, however, that he didn’t know if FEMA would view funding for a tourist line as a priority.

Midland’s two-county operation is also complicating grant applications, as some money is available only for a single county, Bosch said.

The 21st annual Eudorafest is introducing a new feature, said Barbara Tuttle, committee chair of the fall festival that is held on the first Saturday of October.

“We’re excited to have the first Turtle Trot,” she said. “It’s a 5K run to benefit Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.”

The run will start about 9:10 a.m near the Eudora Public Safety Building at 10th and Main streets, Tuttle said. Participants can register for the race from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. at the same location. The human 5K will precede an actual tortoise race scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at Eighth and Main streets.

Forty to 60 vendor booths will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the festival, Tuttle said. The Gary and Dani Show and Shotgun and Lace will provide live entertainment. Dani Thompkins, who will sing the national anthem at the opening ceremonies, has performed the song before Kansas City Chiefs games, she said.

Returning to the festival this year will be the car, truck and motorcycle show in the 700 block of Main Street, the tractor show at Ninth and Main streets, Lions Club kids games in CPA Park and the Kids Path to Pizza at the Eudora Fire Department, 10th and Main streets. All those activities start at 9 a.m.

A couple of longtime festival features will be absent this year. Tuttle said the talent show has been discontinued because of waning interest, and the pedal-tractor pull has also been canceled this year.

The Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce will have its monthly meeting from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Lumberyard Arts Center, 718 High St. The speakers will be local winery owners Tom Holland, of Haven Pointe Winery and Vineyard, and Doug Flitton, of the Vines Vineyard and Winery.