Efforts underway to bring trolley rides back to Fort Scott, KS

Fort Scott, Kansas relies heavily on tourism to its many historic sites to boost the city’s economy.

However, since last spring, the town’s trolleys have been out of commission, making it difficult to draw in visitors.

Fundraising efforts are currently underway for a new downtown trolley, which will cost an estimated $60,000.

Driving into Fort Scott from Kansas City, you will see a sign depicting trolley rides as a signature attraction, but for the past year, no such trolley has existed.

“Oh, people are so disappointed,” said Judy Renard, Fort Scott resident.

Renard owns Country Cupboard on Main Street.

She says in the past, the trolley benefited her business, and has been greatly missed by the town.

“People just love the trolley, and so do I,” Renard said. “I make it a point to ride on it at the beginning of every season.”

Fort Scott has a long history of offering trolley rides, dating back to the early 1900’s.

“Trolleys have always been a part of Fort Scott’s history, so we definitely don’t want to lose that,” said Lauren Stanley, Marketing Relations and Event Coordinator for the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Center. “We want to continue that experience for visitors.”

Fort Scott’s previous trolleys, one of which was sold at the end of last year and the other currently for sale, did not meet ADA standards or have heat and air conditioning, which is why Chamber of Commerce officials say purchasing a new trolley is the best option.

“Until the funds are raised, we’re using a substitute, smaller city shuttle,” Stanley said.

$21,000 has been raised so far, a third of the $60,000 needed to purchase a new trolley.

Once the trolley is purchased, city funding will sustain it.

Many say it’s well worth the investment, for the positive economic impact it will bring back to the town.

“It will be better for the whole county,” said Carol Reeder, Fort Scott resident.

“We would love for our sign to be an accurate representation of what we can provide our visitors here,” Stanley said.

The Chamber of Commerce hopes to raise all funds needed to purchase the trolley by this summer.

“We love our trolley,” Renard said. “Trolley, come back!”

A portion of the proceeds from the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce annual dinner on March 26 will go towards the purchase of a new trolley.

If you would like to make a donation for the trolley, visit http://www.fsacf.com/.

Anyone interested in purchasing the town’s former trolley can contact the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Center at 620-223-3566.