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Mayor, others look to build train viewing platform

Plant City wants to build a viewing platform at the railroad depot for watching trains.

Courtesy of Michael Dixon

Plant City wants to build a viewing platform at the railroad depot for watching trains.

PLANT CITY — A proposal for a railroad viewing platform downtown is gaining renewed momentum.

The idea for a platform near the existing train depot and railroad museum arose in 2008 as a way to attract families and tourists with a passion for trains into downtown.

About 20 to 25 trains pass through Plant City daily.

The idea surfaced again in December when CSX donated $25,000 toward the project.

Now a committee that includes Mayor Mike Sparkman, retired businessman David Miller and others is forming to continue fundraising to build a brick and concrete platform.

"We want to do this with private funding through chamber and downtown merchants," Sparkman said. "This was approved by (City) Commission several years back."

The group has met a handful of times in the past two weeks and is seeking ways to raise money.

The CSX donation represents the first contribution.

The structure, which includes railings and a second-story cupola for spotting trains, is estimated to cost $200,000.

Sparkman said the group aims to build it this year.

"We hope to have it by Christmas," he said.

Rich Shopes, Times staff writer

Mayor, others look to build train viewing platform 04/18/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 3:44pm]
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