Donations help secure downtown lot for caboose

This caboose will soon find its way to a new home in Red Bay. Courtesy photo

RED BAY | Thanks to generous donations from Red Bay business leaders and individuals, and a final push by the City of Red Bay, the new-to-us caboose coming to the city will have a new home right on main street.

Red Bay Mayor Charlene Fancher announced during last week’s City Council meeting that after Scotty Kennedy presented the news to the Council that an Illinois Central caboose had been acquired in August, a development had arisen that would give it a better, permanent home.

Kennedy had reached out to Carolyn Parks about the possibility of purchasing the vacant lot between Bank Independent and Hotel Red Bay for the purposes of displaying the rail car. It wasn’t until after that Council Meeting that Parks was able to negotiate a discounted rate on the lot for the Red Bay Civitans.

However, even with the reduced price the Civitans didn’t have the funds to purchase the property. Kennedy reached out to community leaders seeking donations, and very rapidly received all but $5,500 of what was needed to complete the purchase. City leaders voted Wednesday to supply the remaining $5,500 to secure the property.

“Scotty wrote some business leaders and that property was purchased within a few hours,” Fancher said. “I want to thank Bob Tiffin, John Bostick, Alan Bostick, Community Spirit Bank and the Red Bay City Council for making this happen,” Fancher said. Additionally, Sunshine Mills is willing to move the old depot water tower to the lot behind the train to create a unique exhibit that pays tribute to Red Bay’s founding along the railroad.

Plans were originally to set the rail car to sit in Bay Tree Park, but the lot on Main Street, which was originally home to the city’s movie theater before housing furniture stores and a hangout for area youth until it burned in the mid-2000s, was the original location of choice.

The car is expected to be delivered to the Red Bay area in the next few months as the man who donated it, a doctor in Brandon, Miss., wants the car removed from his property before late fall and winter rains commence. Red Bay’s Jeremy Funderburk was instrumental in locating the car and getting the car donated to the Red Bay Museum.

Among other business handled by the Council on Wednesday:

  • Approved the rezoning from B-2 to R-2 of a property at 101 Pine Street SE. It has had a home on it but the property was originally zoned for business.
  • Terminated all part-time employees as of September 30, 2020 and gave Mayor Fancher the authority to rehire all part-time employees she deems as essential on October 1, 2020. This is standard procedure.
  • Approved Shirley Cody to another six-year term on the Senior Citizen Board.
  • Accepted Shirley Prestage’s resignation from the Senior Citizen Board and the Red Bay Education Committee.
  • Accepted Sue Nelson’s resignation from the Senior Citizen Board.
  • Approved Leigh Burks to fill Prestage’s role as the representative member of the Park and Recreation board to the Red Bay Education Committee and then post the unexpired term Burks had remaining on the Education Committee.