Rochester, NY – A committee in the Town of Mendon hopes to start work soon on a new park that will enhance the Lehigh Valley Trail, and also recall the history of the old Lehigh Valley Railroad.
The Mendon Station Park Committee has plans for a railroad theme park in the hamlet of Mendon, near the corner of Routes 251 and 64. The idea has been under development since 1995, when the Mendon Foundation signed an agreement with Monroe County to develop and maintain the Lehigh Valley Trail.
The hiking and biking trail will be built on the former Lehigh Valley Railroad roadbed beginning next year. More than a million dollars has been raised from government and private sources to build it. Along the trail site in Mendon is a three-acre parcel of land where the Lehigh Valley Railroad station and freight sidings once stood. That's where the Park Committee wants to build its facility.
Warren Wallace is chairman of the Station Park Committee. He says 900 feet of railroad track will be laid on the old roadbed across the park. A pavillion with a raised platform will run along the track. The pavillion will include a railroad museum developed from an old factory building that once shipped its products by rail. It will also include a reproduction of the Mendon railroad station that once stood there.
Architect George Baker says a sports field behind the pavillion will be flooded in winter to become a skating rink. The station building will double as a warming house for skaters and cross-country skiers using the trail in winter. There will be picnic shelters and a stable for people riding the trail on horseback.
To cap off the railroad park, planners hope to park a steam locomotive on one end of the track, and a caboose at the other. Wallace says they're checking various sources for original Lehigh Valley rolling stock.
The Mendon Station Committee plans to show its plans at a public meeting on October 11th. Mendon Foundation Director Chris Carosa says the meeting will be at 7:30 that evening in the Mendon Fire Hall.