Wayzata Trolley Will Not Return Next Year
Wayzata Area Chamber of Commerce says it kept operations going as long as it could.
One of Wayzata's icons will not be back on the street next year.
Board Chair Suzanne Grandchamp said the trolley, owned by the Greater Wayzata Community Foundation and operated by the Chamber, and its predecessor has served Wayzata since 1989.
"It was a difficult decision for our Board of Directors as the trolley has been a popular means of transportation and entertainment," Grandchamp said.
Over the past three years, there have been a number of initiatives and volunteer efforts to try to sustain the trolley for the long term, according to Jeff Lambert, president of the Wayzata Community Foundation and Task Force Chair.
"We spent the past year reviewing options and ultimately recommended the suspension as the only viable option with the existing trolley," he said.
The economic downturn in 2008 had a direct impact on revenues to support the operation. Advertising revenue, the primary source of income, declined 33 percent in three years while private rentals declined over 50 percent. Also, riders were putting less money in the donation box. In addition to the loss of revenue, the cost of maintenance continues to increase and parts are getting more difficult to obtain due to the age of the vehicle.
Replacement with a newer model could cost up to $100,000.
"In this economy, it is difficult to raise that kind of money" said Grandchamp "and we cannot afford to lose money on the operation. Without the generosity of the Wayzata Lions Club, the bottom line results would have been even worse."
The Chamber Board of Directors voted to suspend operations in 2012 and for the foundation to sell the trolley. The proceeds from the sale will be held by the Wayzata Community Foundation for up to three years.
"If there is sufficient interest and the economy improves enough to support a new trolley, the funds would become available as seed money for a new vehicle," reports Lambert.