GREEN BAY – With a round of applause almost as loud as the roar of an engine, the Green Bay parks committee welcomed a donation of three new trains and 3,000 feet of track.
“Bay Beach was just great and we thought what a great fit. It looked like the right size. It was a way to continue a lot of people enjoying the train,” said Paul Woelbing.
Meet Paul Woelbing. His family owns Carma Laboratories, the makers of Carmex lip balm.
His father also owned these trains.
Now that both his parents have died, Woelbing wanted a new home for his father’s favorite possession.
“We could have sold the train off, but my brother and I thought, really, a continuation of what my dad was about would be to donate it and I became aware of Bay Beach through the Zippin Pippin project,” said Woelbing.
The city had been on track to expand the train tracks his fall at Bay Beach. So with the donations, what will that mean for the plan?
“The tracks are expected to go west in the new area of the park and the new expansion area. It could be that they go further, there will be plenty of track and equipment to expand it if they need to,” said Doug McGee, with the group Friends of Bay Beach.
The Friends of Bay Beach will pay $20,000 for a contractor to disassemble the track.
Parks employees will go to Franklin to pick up the donation.
The city estimates the cost for fuel at around $1,100.
Friends of Bay Beach say the donation will make the expansion more affordable.
“With the price of steel now, I think it definitely will be. I think it’s a good addition,” said McGee.
Woelbing says he hopes his father’s train will keep more kids riding the rails for generations to come.
The city council will still have to approve the donation at its meeting next week. The donated trains and track are valued at nearly a quarter million dollars.