Metolius walkway a track to historic past
- Susan Matheny
- Madras Pioneer - News
Railroad theme used
On an overcast, windy winter day, Metolius is still a cheery little town, thanks to its new railroad-themed lamp posts and walkway pavilions.
The recently-completed Metolius Walkway and Landscape Enhancement Project has given the town a polished look, with a winding asphalt path along main street, accented with 27 old-fashioned lamp posts, three bench pavilions, and scores of new trees and shrubs.
The lamp post lights are designed in the shape of old railroad station lights, while the pavilions are decorated with black metal train engine designs.
"It's been fun. The lamps are lit up at night and make the town look festive," said Metolius City Councilperson Tryna Muilenburg.
Funded with an Oregon Transportation Improvement Act grant, phase I of the project began in 1999, when approximately one mile of a bike path-style walkway was put in to serve as Metolius' only sidewalk. The walkway runs along Highway 361, which is the town's main street.
This summer, a new highway overlay was put on in a separate project, and the phase II landscaping was completed after that. The city received a $300,000 OTIA grant to do the landscaping, lamp posts and pavilions, and the general contractor was Decker Landscaping.
The Metolius landscape committee described the railroad theme they wanted, and the contractor came up with the ideas to make it happen.
Muilenburg said the town considers the old historic Metolius Train Depot to be its greatest asset, and wanted to build on that by using a train theme. A nice looking town, councilmen feel, will encourage commercial businesses to locate in Metolius, a town of 790.
The three pavilions, interspersed along the pathway, provide shelter, shade and a resting spot for walkers.
"We have many elderly, retired people in the community, and people need a place to rest while they're out walking. It's for kids too, and one pavilion has been designated as a bus stop," said Metolius City Recorder Donna McCormack.
Future ideas for the old train depot include developing a train museum to attract railroad enthusiasts, holding Saturday markets at the depot, or having a park with an old caboose or train engine at the depot.
With all the visual improvements, Muilenburg said traffic passing by is beginning to notice that Metolius exists.
And of the pavilions, she said, "It's fun sitting there watching the world go by."