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Tourism board supports rail project

reprinted from Red Deer Advocate (Laura Tester) October 28, 2010
Tourism Red Deer is giving an initial stamp of approval to a Red Deer group's proposal for a children's theme park and group transportation museum in the largely undeveloped district of Riverlands.

Executive director Darren Kuz said the tourism board met earlier this month with Paul Pettypiece, president of Forth Junction Heritage Society, to hear the group's dreams for tourist attractions in the city and Red Deer County that embrace a railway theme.

Kuz said the board was impressed with what they heard and as a result, the project is being supported in principle. A letter of support will be crafted and given to Pettypiece within a week.

"In general, they were very supportive of his presentation and the hard work that was put into the proposal," said Kuz on Wednesday. "Whatever goes into Riverlands, we'll do what we can to market it to residents and to visitors."

The heritage society wants to see shops, a children's theme park, observation tower restaurant and ground transportation museum within Riverlands, west of Taylor Drive and south of the Taylor Bridge. A second main attraction will occur in an unidentified location within Red Deer County. It would include replicas of several regional railway stations for overnight lodging, a railway park, and a lookout tower.

Being in the initial stages, the society's plans haven't received formal endorsements by the city and county.

Kuz added he anticipates Tourism Red Deer's first study on tourism's economic impact will be done by the end of 2010.

Tourism Red Deer hired Atif Kubursi, an economic professor at Hamilton's McMaster University, to do the $30,000 study funded through the City of Red Deer.

"We want to find out the overall value of what the tourism industry is," said Kuz.

Some of the questions that will be answered include the number of full-time jobs directly related to tourism within the city and surrounding area.

The study's results will help Tourism Red Deer to craft detailed marketing plans, Kuz said.

News articles about the Forth Junction Heritage Society (more below):
       News article: World-class destination centre still in the works (Innisfail Province Nov.2013)
       Editorial: Praise today's big dream
(Innisfail Province Jan.2012)
       Editorial: Railway concept captures region's uniqueness (Olds Albertan Jan.2012)
       Feature article: Forth Junction targets county
(Mountain View Gazette Dec.2011)
       News article: Forth Junction pulling toward a new station
(Red Deer Advocate Dec.2011)

News articles related to ACR/CPR Mintlaw bridge mentioning the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
       News article: Plans for Mintlaw Bridge waiting on public feedback
(Mountain View Gazette Feb.2012)
       News article: Opposition comes forward to Mintlaw Bridge preservation
(Mountain View Gazette May 2011)
       News article: RD County antes up for Mintlaw Bridge repairs
(Mountain View Gazette Nov.2010)
       News article: Bridging gap between history and disrepair
(Red Deer Advocate Nov.2010)

News article related to regional model and miniature railways mentioning the Forth Junction Project:

       News article: Trains still roll for some
(Red Deer Advocate Nov.2012)

News articles related to historic downtown Red Deer redevelopment mentioning the Forth Junction Project
(the original vision of the Forth Junction Heritage Society included an attraction in the new downtown
Riverlands but this vision was modified to have one destination close to the city and active rail line):

       News article: Railyards: Open house on a 20-year plan for downtown
(Red Deer Advocate June 2011)
       News article: Riverlands: Strong turnout for open house
(Red Deer Advocate March 2011)
       Commentary: Red Deer could use more bold visionary landmark designers
(Red Deer Express Sep.2010)

Michael Dawe articles related to regional railway heritage mentioning the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
       Region celebrating century of railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)
       Mintlaw Bridge essential to region's railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)


 News articles about the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
World-class destination centre still in the works 11/13       Praise today's big dream 01/12       Forth Junction targets county 12/11 
Forth Junction pulling toward a new station
12/11        A volunteer on the right track 12/10        Tourism board supports rail project 10/10
Forth Junction rail project seeking charitable status
10/10        Rail tourist attraction idea gets rolling 07/10        Railway heritage 06/10
New idea for Riverlands worth an Olympic cheer 02/10       Happy to hear more talk on large-scale attractions 02/10
One-time opportunity 02/10       Tourism proposal facing obstacles 02/10       World-class attraction proposed for Riverlands 02/10

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