Train arrives at All Abilities Park

ST. GEORGE – Though not slated to open till the fall, the All Abilities Park and Playground in St. George came a little closer to completion with the arrival of its much anticipated novelty train Monday.

“It’s the first train ever to come to St. George – ever,” said Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins for the City of St. George.

Amber Graves (sitting on the engine) and Kent Perkins, St. George Leisure Services Director, pose for photos, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Amber Graves (sitting on the engine) and Kent Perkins, St. George Leisure Services Director, pose for photos, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The train was delivered Monday morning and eventually placed in the 2,700 feet of track that encompasses the park. The purchase of the train was approved by the St. George City Council in February at a cost of $365,000.

Along with the engine, three passenger cars were also delivered. Two of the cars are wheelchair-accessible, which fits into the overall theme of the incoming All Abilities Park at 1851 South Dixie Drive adjacent to the Tonaquint Nature Center.

Designed as a dinosaur-themed park, its overall architecture caters to all children, regardless of ability.

“It really feels like Christmas,” St. George resident Michelle Graves said. She came to see the newly-delivered train with her 15-year-old daughter, Amber.

“I like the train a lot,” Amber said. “It makes me happy.”

Novelty train for the All Abilities Park and Playground, freshly delivered, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Novelty train for the All Abilities Park and Playground, freshly delivered, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

While admiring the new addition to the park, Amber got to sit on the engine and get her picture taken with Perkins.

Graves said she and her daughter have been involved in the park’s creation since the beginning, and were also present at the park’s groundbreaking Jan. 16.

“This means it’s really happening and is in full force,” Graves said of the train’s arrival.

The All Abilities Park is estimated to cost between $4 million and $5 million, with private parties hoping to raise $1 million. According to the park’s website, $227,600 in private donations has been raised thus far.

“It’s one of those processes that never goes as fast as you want it to, but it’s going steady,” Perkins said. “So it’s exciting to be in a position to see this wonderful ‘little baby,’ as I’ve heard it called, come to St. George.”

During the City Council meeting in February in which the council approved the purchase of the train, Councilman Joe Bowcutt said: “This is probably going to be one of the best things the city has done in years.”

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

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15 Comments

  • Forsooth August 17, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Mmkay, I hope someone can explain the particulars here. If private parties are planning on raising $1 million and the end cost is $4-5 million, who is filling the gap? Is there going to be a fee to ride the train or is the city going to pick up the slack? Much as I love the idea of an All Abilities park, is this really going to be the best use of our limited funds?

  • anybody home August 18, 2015 at 9:36 am

    It’s a great use of funds. Somebody should be very sure the vandals don’t get the best of it. Kent Perkins has had this idea for a while and it’s such a great thing for the kids in the St. George area. Who doesn’t love trains!?

    • Forsooth August 18, 2015 at 11:25 am

      And if Kent Perkins wants to pay for it, provide security to protect it from the vandals you mention, and shell out even more cash for the inevitable upkeep (St. George summers aren’t going to be kind to a pretty thing like that), I’d be more than happy to let him do so.

      But it looks like it’s all going to come from the public coffers. It’s not a matter of who loves or doesn’t love trains; it’s a matter of what issues are really worth sinking that sort of money into. Call me crazy, but I think basic road maintenance (something that St. George news has reported as being in ‘crisis’) should come first.

  • Brian August 18, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Building a $5 million dollar mini-theme park (with associated liability when a kid gets run over by the train) is an awesome use of funds (please ignore the fact that they’re building this at the exact same time they’re saying they need to raise taxes because they don’t have enough money to fix roads). This is definitely the proper role of government. I can’t wait to visit McArthur Land with my son and climb up Pikes Peak. I hear the view of the dinosaurs in Esplin Valley is spectacular.

  • fun bag August 18, 2015 at 11:37 am

    5 MILLION DOLLARS IS NOTHING!!! AFTER ALL, EVERYONE LOVES TRAINS!!! YOU BETTER LOVE TRAINS, OR ELSE!!!

  • Dexter August 18, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Aww isn’t that cute a purdy little train for the kiddies. now REAL LIFE VILLAGE IDIOT can get a ride on the choo choo train.. okay sit down and shut up stupi.!

  • anybody home August 18, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Well, on the other hand, let’s just keep St. George and southern Utah the uninspiring dump it is. Don’t spend a dime on anything to improve it. The good old boys can sit on their porches and swear at everything. The Mormons can huddle in their wards and big dorky houses, spend their money on the Church and pray that the spirit of Joe Smith will carry them to heaven. The druggies and dopers can commit all manner of crimes that cost – gee – nothing to the public. Let’s not have anything bright or beautiful or fun for the kids. You can just drag them to the Friday mustache festivals and call it good.

    This park is a great thing and the train is the centerpiece and Kent Perkins led the charge. But the bitch and whine crowd will stomp on any effort to make St. George a better place.

    Good luck to you, Kent. It’s still a great thing!

    • Brian August 18, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Yeah, St. George is a total dump with no parks, which is why we just won the National Recreation and Park Association Gold Medal specifically for our parks (http://www.nrpa.org/uploadedFiles/nrpa.org/Membership/Awards/Gold_Medal/Gold-Medal-Finalists.pdf). You should get out more, we have parks coming out our ears. We didn’t have one with a train though, I’ll grant you that. Maybe next year we can win the “Gold Medal for Parks with Trains” award. Of course, we’ll have to walk to it, since we won’t have any roads to drive on unless they raise taxes (http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2015/06/18/jla-cities-face-road-funding-crisis-seek-ballot-initiative-for-transportation-tax/).

      • fun bag August 18, 2015 at 4:57 pm

        Oops! we ran out of money to fix the roads… we spent it all on this toy train instead…

    • Forsooth August 18, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      So, Anybody Home, are you saying that the train will somehow curb drug usage? Wouldn’t, I don’t know, a rehab clinic be a better use of money if that’s your end goal? I’m trying to wrap my head around the mental hoops you’re jumping through.

      ” I was going to main-line this syringe of heroin, but then I rode a kiddie train and decided to turn my life around.”

    • fun bag August 18, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      AH just needs to rage. I just don’t see how all these mentally handicapped kids will benefit from something so silly as a ride-around train. What if one of them falls onto the tracks and gets a leg crushed… then the city will have to plunk down another 10mil to cover that episode… It just seems dumb. why not build a nice water park or…?

  • ladybugavenger August 18, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Carousel and a train…..how about a 6 flags amusement/water park…..we have plenty of desert, lots of sun ( oh dang, just thought of how hot the seats would be on the rides) well, with more money the seats could come with cooling covers.

  • Dexter August 18, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    They will probably use the train until the driver falls sleep and rolls it. or is seen using his cell phone and hits a Moose and gets a citation for distracted driving or the SGPD will find that the train is being used to transport drugs and smuggle illegal aliens

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