Track construction

Grant Station Park edged out two other names in a poll for the name of Union’s newest park.

The Union Parks and Recreation Department held an online survey to name the new park that will host model train rides held by the group that has been known as the St. Louis Live Steamers, though that name is expected to change before it gets to Union.

Grant Station Park, named for the street the park is located on and, apparently, indirectly for former President Ulysses S. Grant, received 43.42 percent of the vote, beating out Union Station Park, which got 36 percent of the vote, and Rock Island Park which garnered 19 percent of the vote.

The three names were narrowed down from 56 suggestions from residents at a Dec. 15 town hall-style meeting.

The names will be presented to the city’s Personnel, Finance and Public Works Committee at its Feb. 6 meeting. The committee, made up of members of the Union Board of Aldermen, could still change the name. The name will need final approval from the full board of aldermen.

“I’ll make my recommendation to the committee based on these surveys,” Parks Director Chad Pohlmann said.

Parks department decisions are usually reviewed by the Parks, Buildings, Development and Public Service committee, but its January meeting was canceled because a quorum of members was not expected to attend.

Steamers members have started laying track at the site, and a picnic table has also been placed there. Restrooms, a playground and pavilion are other possible long-range additions to the park, though they are not currently in any official city plan.

The Steamers hope to have enough track in place to have model train rides by late summer 2023.

The person or people who submitted the winning name for the park are expected to be on the opening ride when the Live Steamers start running trains in Union.

The Live Steamers have not had a home for their train rides since 2019, when they were forced to leave Eureka after 15 years. After years of discussions, an agreement with Union was finalized in 2022.

The Steamers plan to lay track in two sizes, 7 1/2-inches wide, which will be for the public rides, and 4 3/4 inches wide. Eventually, the Live Steamers plan to have 4,000 feet of track for the trains and run trains publicly six times a year between May and October.