Minnesota Zephyr Train owner David Paradeau was given a two-week abatement extension to move the engine from its downtown resting place by the Stillwater City Council Tuesday.
Paradeau flew in from Florida to talk with the council about his requested extension Tuesday night.
“I wanted people to know that it’s not been for blatant carelessness that the train’s been left there and I’m in agreement with you that it has to move,” Paradeau said. “It’s just been a comedy of errors and misfortunes.”
Paradeau told the council that a variety of buyers that have backed out at the last minute and the cost to deal with issues he’s encountered with the engine has outstripped the value of the train.
City Administrator Larry Hansen said a contractor has agreed to remove the train for the city for $12,000. He added that the contractor’s bid is likely the best deal the city can get.
Hansen said the city would apply that $12,000 cost as a special assessment to Paradeau’s property taxes.
“A special assessment becomes like a lien on the property and he’ll pay it off with his property taxes, so we’ll get it back,” Hansen said. “But with something as expensive as that we’ll allow him to pay it off over a period of years, or if the property is sold the amount must be immediately paid in full.”
To avoid this extra cost Paradeau said salvage company K&K Recycling Services has guaranteed that the locomotive could be disassembled and moved in 35 days from Dec. 5 pending the OK from the city.
“If you can get a performance bond from the company I’d go for it. I want a guarantee that it will be gone,” said Ward 4 Councilman Mike Polehna.
Polehna made a motion that if Paradeau could get the complete contract, insurance and a performance bond to Hansen the Dec. 18 council meeting and Hansen was satisfied with the agreement, an extension could be issued.
“If it’s not done we’ll move ahead with the abatement the next day to get it out of there,” Polehna said.