By MELINDA WILLIAMS
Construction on the new Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Transportation Museum is almost complete.
According to Town Manager John Hawley, construction on the S. Washington Avenue building is complete with the exception of installing a gas meter and some trim work. Now, the focus shifts to the exterior, where the staff is making plans for landscaping and parking.
Pulaski’s engineering department has created preliminary landscape drawings. Hawley said part of the Route 11 side of the museum includes installation of a public seating area and “simple rain garden” that will improve the aesthetics of the property while “collecting and filtering” rain runoff from the museum.
Town engineering staff is working with county engineers handling a redesign of the Maple Shade parking lot to make sure the museum property blends with that plan. The town sold Maple Shade Plaza to Pulaski County several years ago. The county is working with a consulting firm to develop plans to revamp that facility’s parking lot.
Of course the museum will not truly be complete until the train display removed from Dr. Milton Brockmeyer’s basement is up and running in the museum. Hawley estimates the train setup is about 80 percent complete.
Some buildings, trees and other parts of the display still need to be put in place and a fabric skirting needs to be created to hide the area under the display platform. Then, once the display lighting has been adjusted, the trains can be placed on the track.
An opening date has not been officially set, but staff is hoping to have everything ready by spring.