Phase two begins on PAF Train refurbishment

Chloe Welch, Synethia Mathews and Evey Lowrimore apply primer to the Prairie Arts Festival Train cars before a base coat can be applied.
Staff Writer

The Prairie Arts Festival Trains have been a part of West Point's biggest festival for almost thirty years. All that time and wear and tear on the trains made it necessary for work to be done to get them ready by Sept. 1.

The Construction Technology class at the Career and Technology Center of West Point High School, broke the trains down to the frames and completely rebuilt the wooden sides, flooring and roof on each of the ten cars. Each train has five cars.

Now phase two has begun. The cars are being sanded and given a coat or two of primer before applying the base coat of paint.

"I received a Visit Mississippi grant for the Prairie Arts Festival," Lisa Klutts, director of the Growth Alliance, said. 'Part of the grant process is to report how many full or part - time positions were made available through this grant. So I've hired three young women who are either already in college or have enrolled for their Freshman first semester, to help with painting the train."

Chloe Welch will be a freshman majoring in Art at Mississippi State, Synethia Mathews is enrolled as a freshman majoring in business management at Delta State and Evey Lowrimore is majoring in art at EMCC as a sophomore this fall.

"Lisa texted me last week and asked if I would be interested in helping," Lowrimore said. "It seemed like a fun project to be part of."

Welch said she is always happy to volunteer for the fun things her mother, Klutts, has going on. She enjoys the opportunity to help her mom with projects.

"She takes so much pride in what she does for this community," Welch said. "It makes me feel good to be able to help her when she needs me."

Mathews said she had planned to volunteer at the Growth Alliance this summer anyway, so to be able to help and get paid for it, was an added bonus.

"I was going to see what I could do to help in July anyway," Mathews said. "So when this opportunity came up, I wanted to be a part of it."

Klutts said everyone is working hard to get both trains ready to run by Prairie Arts Festival time. She said the young women would be back tomorrow to see if another coat of primer will be needed.

"After the sanding and primer," Klutts said. "We'll paint the base coat. Deborah Mansfield will be the one painting the design. The trains will be blue and yellow. We haven't decided on the designs yet. Deborah will come up with something wonderful."

The Daily Times Leader will be updating the public on the progress of the train refurbishment and other PAF related items of interest.