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Costa Mesa commission endorses contract extension for Fairview Park trains

Costa Mesa commission endorses contract extension for Fairview Park trains
An Orange County Model Engineers member navigates a model Santa Fe diesel locomotive pulling passengers through Fairview Park. (File Photo)

Members of the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission endorsed renewing a lease agreement this week that would allow the Orange County Model Engineers to continue operating their trains in Fairview Park for at least two more decades.

On a 4-0 vote Thursday evening, the commission recommended extending the nonprofit club’s contract for a period of 20 years — with two, five-year extension options beyond that.

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“I would just like to thank the Model Engineers organization for their dedication to the park over the years,” said commission Chairwoman Liz McNabb. “I have so many fond memories of my daughter riding the trains throughout her entire childhood. We would go almost every month that we could.”

Vice Chairwoman Arlis Reynolds recused herself on the vote, as she has family members who are part of the organization.

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The proposed extension will now head to the City Council, which will make the final decision on whether to approve it. The current contract expires in September.

The Model Engineers operate a 7.5-inch gauge railroad with more than 5 miles of track on the eastern side of Fairview Park. The group also has an on-site maintenance yard, gift shop and restroom.

As part of their agreement with the city, first entered into in 1988, the Model Engineers provide free train rides to the public on the third weekend of every month — an offering that has become a popular community tradition.

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