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home : opinion : opinion
September 20, 2019

8/20/2019 3:16:00 PM
Fishing, swimming, eating, playing... Hop on the train at Hackensack Park
volunteers disassemble Paulís Train from itís place of slumber under the pines on Big Deep Lake.
volunteers disassemble Paulís Train from itís place of slumber under the pines on Big Deep Lake.
After a power wash and fresh coat of stain, Paulís Train is ready for decades of fun.
After a power wash and fresh coat of stain, Paulís Train is ready for decades of fun.
By Ally Garbe of the Press-Citizen


The citizens, Lions and City of Hackensack (and more) have been making moves towards enhancing and improving little bits of town, here and there. Beginning with town's Save the Pier Project, and now the Park Project, downtown Hackensack has a fresh breath of life.

Just over a month ago, the Hackensack Lions hosted a Pancake Breakfast as a fundraiser for the Park Project.

"The profit from Breakfast allowed for new benches, picnic tables, two new swings and a roundabout," said Julie Cline, an active communty member. She became involved with enriching City Park in a different manner than regularly scheduled toys and the perfect place for an afternoon meal.

In the end of June, Kevin Larson, owner of Kevin Larson Construction, was hired to remodel a home on Big Deep Lake. Off under the pines in front yard sat a hidden gem. The new homeowner was prepared to scrap it- he had no use for it. Kevin felt this particular piece of art was too perfect for another purpose; his wife, Sue, called Julie to tell her they had found what is now called, "Paul's Train." Julie attended the next City Council meeting to propose the addition of this wooden train to City Park, where the decision was made quickly.

"As soon as we could, we went to investigate the train more to see what it would take to move it," Julie said. "It was incredibly put together. We were going to need tracks for it to sit on, so I told Swede Zaffke (of Hackensack Lumber and Hardware), 'You're going to be my foreman!' and he jumped on board." Treated lumber for tracks was purchased from Hackensack Lumber and Swede brought the necessary tools to lay the tracks. Other community members joined in splitting each car from each other and preparing the train for transport to City Park. Julie's husband, Jay, helped her pressure wash and clean up Paul's Train.

"It all was completed very quickly," Julie commented. "The guys from Northwoods Dock came after working all day to help place Paul's Train. It was great!" After everyone's hard work, we shared a meal under the Pavilion."

Now that it's been placed and painted the oversized toy has brought joy to all who have visited the park. Julie's favorite sight so far?

"I drove by last week, and six adults - adults! - were inside Paul's Train, ringing it's bells, having a blast. It was beautiful. And, the bell never stops ringing!"

Folks from the community came together and swiftly made a lovely addition to Hackensack's Park Project. Sometimes, the impromptu projects can be the most heartwarming and beautiful.

If you haven't already, be sure to visit City Park to enjoy Paul's Train, and be prepared to enjoy more improvments to come!

To support the Park Project and the Hackensack Lions, visit City Park on Tuesday, August 20 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. for a free Community Picnic.





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