Tracy City has acquired 5 acres across Railroad Avenue from the Heritage Center which formerly encompassed the site of the railroad roundhouse, engine repair shop, and Tracy City train depot. The railroad roundhouse and engine repair shop were razed in the 1950s. The train depot burned in 1971. The city has engaged a landscape architecture firm to design a public park, to be known as Old Roundhouse Park, on the 5 acre site.
The Board of Directors of Grundy County Historical Society has approved the addition of the Lulu Estelle Robbins and E.L. Hampton Assembly Hall as an adjunct to the park. This will provide an audio visual center for the park where, among other things, documentaries and videos will be assessable to the public. Media will depict the origin of the “New South” at Tracy City with the development and operation of the coal, coke, iron, and steel industries in the south following the American Civil War. In addition existing rest room, facilities have been approved to be made available through the adjunct to the park until permanent restroom facilities are constructed.
The Board of Directors believes that adding the Assembly Hall as an adjunct to the park will enhance the mission of the Heritage Center by drawing more people into the museum, library, and research center and expose them to the history of the region.
The park improvements will be implemented incrementally. The first stage of implementation will be the construction of the Mountain Goat Bicycle/Walking Trail. Parking and landscaping along the south side of Railroad Avenue will follow. An orchestra stage for outdoor concerts is planned as well as restroom facilities and train depot pavilion in the approximate location of the old train depot. A historic train implement or artifact is planned to be connected via a trestle bridge to a parking area on 10th Street. There will be a zig zag bridge on the south slope of the park that leads to a cabin to be named Father Adamz Cabin.
The park will include multiple art features as well as a nature play area, a toddler play area, a climbing play area, and stairs near the historic stone culvert that connect the upper and lower topographic levels of the park. The historic stone retaining wall will be fully exposed and enhanced with nearby paths that lead to picnic and playground areas.
Old Roundhouse Park is expected to become a major attraction for Tracy City and the plateau.
Public comments are invited and should be directed to Larry Phipps, Mayor of Tracy City, at Tracy City City Hall.