JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – On a normal summer day, Tiny Town would be bustling with kids as trains circle the miniature replica buildings. For more than 100 years it has entertained Colorado families, but this summer it’s quiet.
“I was so depressed this year because there was no noise. There was no crying, no screaming. This place needs the sound of children. Otherwise it may as well not be here,” said Tiny Town park manager Elvira Nedoma.
The amusement park is tucked into the Jefferson County foothills outside of Morrison. Normally it operates daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day with some weekends in May and September as weather permits. As COVID-19 measures were put in place by health officials, opening wasn’t a possibility until recently.
“The middle of July they tell me this. It takes me two weeks to even prepare this place to open. Just to set out all the iconic stuff we have,” Nedoma said. “By the end of June I was done because you have July, August they go back to school, I can’t be open for a month. I’d be really in the hole if I opened.”
Nedoma and her volunteers have started an online campaign to try and raise money so Tiny Town can open next summer.
“I have enough money to go season to season. I can’t go 20 months. That’s almost two years of being closed. I need help,” she said.
The decision not to open this summer wasn’t only financial. Many volunteers are above the age of 65 and are high risk for the coronavirus. During the closure, volunteer engineers are working on the trains while Nedoma and others try and renovate some of the pint-sized replica buildings.
Normally 120,000 people visit each summer.
“I see kids grow up here. They’re 2 when they get here, they’re in high school and they still come back here with their girlfriends,” Nedoma said. “This is magical for kids. This will not go away for the kids, oh no. I’m here for the kids forever and ever.”