Bennett Oliver, director of the Douglasville Parks and Recreation Department, said repairs to the dam over which the train runs, plus about 30 percent of the track, should be completed by February.
About 80 percent of the total cost to repair the dam, estimated at $425,000, will be paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Oliver said.
“We believe the Georgia Emergency Management Agency will cover at least some of the remaining repair costs,” he said.
As part of the repair work, federal officials recommended Douglas County install a new spillway and culvert which would, when completed, move the water about 59 feet away from the existing creek bed and create a new bed.
In addition, Oliver said, repairs to the train engine itself, which is being done in Alabama, is about 95 percent complete.
Oliver said he expects the train to be running its half-mile route with the start of the spring athletic programs at Hunter Park, which begin in May around Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day.
The lake is connected to a branch of Anneewakee Creek. In 2009, heavy rains which caused major flooding damage countywide, caused the lake at the park to overflow and wash out a portion of the dam.
“The main issue that has pushed us back regarding when the project would be completed was the wait we had to acquire the necessary permits needed to do the work, which must come from the Environmental Protection Agency,” Oliver said.
The city also hadn’t done any repairs to the park’s railroad tracks since 1992, also prompting the need to renovate them.
Oliver said renovating the railroad track encompassed about half the project.
“Once the repair work has been completed, it has to be certified by the state,” Oliver said.
“We also need to purchase two railroad passenger cars for the train that will be done if approved by the Douglasville City Council,” Oliver said, adding the train passenger cars cost about $20,000 each.
Although the Hunter Park train operated primarily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, parks and recreation official also have it operating on special occasions at other times during the year, like Halloween, Oliver said.
“The train has always been a great addition to Hunter Park,” he said.
“It is as popular with the adults as it is with the children and is a great experience for the entire family,” Oliver said.