It’s been a tough year as COVID-19 greatly challenged the landscape of our lives.  We are grateful and thankful; however, that despite the challenges, the Friends of the Railroad Park (FORRP) has made a lot of progress at the Spooner Railroad Park, which is located across the tracks from the Railroad Memories Museum.  We’ve worked hard this past summer and fall to bring a little piece of local history to life. Thankfully, after some postponements, our contractors were able to complete the Railroad Park Picnic Pavilion in time for hunter safety and yoga classes and lots of picnics and relaxing at the Park! FORRP wishes to thank our community, donators and partners (thank you to Schmitz’s Economart for your recent help with the pavilion and brick restoration), contractors & invested businesses, and the City crew for our many blessings.

FORRP aspires to provide diverse year-round leisure opportunities through the preservation of Spooner’s rich railroad history, open green space, and park settings for its community and visitors. Spooner Railroad Park encourages revitalization and community pride by stimulating economic, culturally enriched experiences and activities within and around the Park. Here are our most recent accomplishments: The restored weigh station/scale is nearly complete! It was used heavily in the ‘40s to mid-‘70s to weigh railcars to price product to transport as well as making sure the railcar wasn’t overloaded. Ken Staves and Brad Patchin have taken over where Del Salquist left off in restoring it back to its original state, both inside and out. Looking through the windows, you’ll see pictures illustrating the similarities!  The Railroad Park Picnic Pavilion is complete with outlets, lights, and three donator benches adjacent, acknowledging our awesome Yard Master donators.  The volleyball court has been moved north, with much landscaping by the City crew in place.

 Our plans for the future include: further landscaping both at the weigh station and the Park; creating historic preservation status for the Roundhouse; installing: an ATV path from the Wild Rivers Trail to the parking lot, signage indicating where ATVers can park, a  walkway from the parking lot to the pavilion, “in-use” sign at the pavilion, four more historic signs; and our greatest project for spring of 2021 is to preserve and secure six critical areas of the exterior brickwork of the Roundhouse. Lastly, we’ve approved the request from the Spooner Pickle Ball Fun Addicts Club to reserve space to build a pickle ball/tennis court north of the weigh station for a 2-year period at Railroad Park.

We need your help to continue! FORRP is humbly asking for donations to make this a beautiful, welcoming site for all to enjoy. Here are our immediate and ongoing needs: *Crucial need to repair and secure six areas on the roundhouse this spring, to save and preserve the building and keep bricks intact. It’s a tough, old building and built like a tank, but urgently needs the repair to secure it so exterior cleaning and spot tuck pointing can be done at a later time with more fundraising: $25,000.00. *Portable toilet expense for the Park: $1500/year. *Website (spoonerrailroadpark.com) and marketing: $600/year.

Spooner Railroad Park Donation Levels, FORRP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit:

Gandy Dancer-<$250: Recognition on website

Engineer-$250-$999: Recognition on website and 4×8 recognition brick

Conductor-$1,000-$4,999: Logo & recognition on website and 8×8 recognition brick

Yard Master-$5,000+: Logo & recognition on website, 8×8 recognition brick, a tree or bench

Donations can be mailed to: Friends of the Railroad Park (FORRP), PO Box 548, Spooner, WI 54801.

If you would like to know more or how to donate, please call Terri Reiter, Chair of FORRP/Railroad Park at 715-416-2995. Blessings to you, and I thank you again, for your incredible generosity.