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COLUMN

Council Watch

Billy Manes paying attention to local government so you don't have to

Item: The city authorizes the director of purchasing to negotiate and execute a contract with one or more firms for the removal of the train adjacent to the Church Street Station.

Translation: Something that hasn’t been chugging along since its appearance beside the old Church Street Station in 1976 is the old steam train most frequently used for chugging booze and/or heavy petting in the arcade’s heyday (it was in a John Wayne movie, for chrissakes). Against former Church Street Station owner Bob Snow’s better, gray-haired judgment, the city has been tasked by the Florida Department of Transportation with derailing the locomotive icon to make room for a new SunRail platform by the end of this month. Though the Dec. 9 deadline for bids has come and gone (like, say, an early train), the city still hopes to extend the necessary removal date until it finds just the right collector to fork over the $350,000 the city estimates the train’s relocation will cost. Five bids have been received, all requiring some city financing. “Time is of the essence,” the city says in this item’s summary. Well, it used to be, anyway.

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