Yakima Valley Trolleys turning financial problems around

Yakima Valley Trolleys turning financial problems around »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- It's a chance to see how things used to be. But the years have taken their toll on the Yakima Valley Trolleys facility.

The acting director of the nonprofit says the past two decades have been financially rough.

"Just barely making it, and sometimes not," said Karl Pasten.

But he thinks that streak is over. Karl says the big turnaround came when the Yakima City Council gave them $100,000 from reserve funds. He says that money is going to keep them moving forward and hopefully bring in more money.

"There's much more money needed,” said Karl. “$100,000 is a drop in the bucket. Even for the facility here, we need four or five times that."

Karl's hoping the extra money will come from grants, but he says it's tough to apply without any steady funding.

Rider Diane Castillo enjoyed her trolley experience with her grandkids and thinks it is something the community needs to get behind.

"I would totally recommend that a lot of us come out and donate and do whatever is possible to keep the trolley going," said Diane.

Valley Trolleys says riders like Diane help pay for the maintenance of the trolleys. The transit company says ridership increased more than 200 percent from the summer of 2012 to the summer of 2013.

"I just want to ride the trolley, and I've always wanted to ride a train," said young rider Javyer.

The organization hopes to get even more riders by upgrading their facilities. Plans include building a parking lot, overhauling the facilities and installing air conditioning and a heater in the old powerhouse that serves as a museum. The organization hopes this will keep them on track.

The nonprofit says they will start on the projects in June. They plan to finish by the end of the year. When they do have more funding, they would like to expand the track to downtown Yakima.