By BEN MATTHEWS
Bellevue’s landmark red caboose in Red Caboose Park will relocate from its current location near the historic DeMoss Cabin to a 1,495-square-foot concrete slab near a parking lot along Colice Jeanne Road.
According to Metro Councilwoman Sheri Weiner, the concrete will be poured between January and February, weather
permitting. Once the slab is completed, the caboose will be moved via crane from its current location to the new one.
The move, Weiner said, is the first step in the city’s plan to rebuild a playground at the park. The park’s original wooden playground, built by local residents in 1996, suffered from deterioration and was closed by the city in 2018 due to safety concerns.
In 2014, the Tennessean reported low levels of arsenic found at the previous playground. The site has since been razed and now stands vacant as it awaits rebuilding.
The plans for the park’s new playground were unveiled to the public Sunday afternoon at the Nashville Public Library Bellevue Branch during an open house and campaign kickoff event for the project.
“The whole thing is going to take a completely different feel,” Weiner said about the project.
After the relocation of the red caboose, site preparation for the new playground will begin with the building of new foundation and framing, according to the councilwoman. Additional renovations will be made to the comfort station, gazebo and stage at Red Caboose Park.
A community-driven phase of the building process will take place May 3-5 and is scheduled to consist of playground construction, painting, landscaping and bricklaying. Community members can sign up to volunteer for shifts online at the playground’s official site.
According to the site, the project is “a collaboration between Metro Nashville Government, the Bellevue volunteers “Team RCP,” and community members, businesses and groups.”
The website also includes methods for community members to donate to the project including donations to receive personalized bricks which will be used in the new playground’s foundation, commemorative cabooses for donations of $20.19 and two-line bench inscriptions for sponsorships of $2,200.
The playground will open in May 2019 after the rubber surfacing is placed. An official ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony will be held June 1.