An appreciation for model trains as a child prompted one local business owner to transform a small section of his landscaping business into a model train village - a project he plans to build upon year-round.
P.J. and Nikki Lenz, owners of Nicky's Garden Center along Bethany Pike in Wheeling, added a bit of "nostalgia" to their landscaping business by building a 250- to 300-square-foot outdoor G-scale garden train display with help from workers of T&K Hobby Shop in Bridgeport.
P.J. Lenz said while they wanted to get the display finished in time for the Christmas holiday, they will continue to add to the large outdoor exhibit throughout the entire year.
"It's just the beginning of it. ... It is a work in progress," he said.
"We decided to get into it because we thought it would be a neat way to incorporate landscaping and water features with something fun that I grew up with as a kid," said Lenz. "It's kind of a nostalgic turn on things."
The display, which is visible to motorists driving on W.Va. 88, has an amazing amount of detail, including a village of buildings, a wooden trestle and bridge and a tunnel. Lenz said the project has been a joint effort between Nicky's and T&K Hobby. He said employees of T&K Hobby made the railroad layout and built the wooden bridge and trestle.
Eric Freeland with T&K Hobby said the employees spent about one week on site and one week off site working on details of the display. Freeland said John Kirchner, Lee Johnson, Chuck Horvath and himself all had a hand in building the trestle and bridge sections of the display.
Lenz said they also have a smaller, O-scale model train display set up inside the business, which has more of a Christmas season theme. He said they have several smaller train displays that are for sale, which are on consignment from T&K Hobby.
"I've always enjoyed trains as a little kid and still enjoy them today," Lenz added.
Nicky Lenz said she believes it is a great addition to their business that many of their customers enjoy.
"Our kids really enjoy it," she added.