Arbutus Park Retirement Community does not just deck the halls for the holiday season. It lays down rails.
This was the sixth year that the continuing care retirement community in Johnstown, PA, featured an elaborate model railroad in December.
The project’s chief engineers are Ron Reinbold and Win Garland. Both are on the CCRC’s board of directors, and Garland has been a resident for two years.
Their display sits on a large platform in the community room. This year, it included an Alpine setting and an American small town, circa the 1950s. The model is highly interactive. Viewers can pluck a Hershey’s Kiss from a “Kiss car,” and visitors can control the trains in a “freight yard.” Children who master certain maneuvers earn a certificate. Some residents plan specifically to have out-of-town guests visit when the display is up.
The model shows Arbutus is a “modern retirement community” that is “very lively,” Reinbold noted.
The display conjures memories, with one resident reminiscing about how she rode a train to school, and then worked for the train company.
“We have stories like that frequently,” Reinbold said.
The model brings a lot of enjoyment to staff as well as residents, Garland added, and increases “the well-being they feel this time of year.”