Railroad project looking for another site
Nov 16, 2012 (The Morehead News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Nov. 16, 2012 --Railroad cars without a home was the topic when Steve Young addressed Monday's City Council meeting.
Young was representing the Rowan County Historical Society's Morehead and North Fork Railroad Project.
"I am here simply to make you aware of our need of a piece of the property," he said. "We have been told that this property could be transferred from the state to the city."
Council members advised Young that the location he believes the city can petition for is in a flood plain.
Also, a bridge for Rails to Trails was disassembled at the same location because it was on state right-of-way.
City Planner Joe Parson said the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet still could have plans to widen the bypass near the corner of US 60 and Bridge Street.
Young originally got the OK from council in April to move forward with plans for the display of historic rail cars.
He was told at that time to work it out with organizers of the Farmers Market. However, an agreement could not be reached, so he turned to Rowan Fiscal Court.
The land was obtained by the county from the state as surplus property to be used for a farmers market.
"Before we even looked into it, they had to show they had the money and resources and they did," said Rowan Judge-Executive Jim Nickell.
Nickell said the group was made aware from the beginning that if farmers market vendors did not want to share 200 feet of the property, they did not have to do so.
Young said local farmers originally supported the historical society's project but then changed their minds.
Nickell told Young he would advocate for the group to use one of two other properties that belong to the state and are located on the US 60 bypass.
One of those is located directly across from the old Freight Station Liquors building and the other is across from American Office Supply.
"As it turned out a couple months ago they indicated they had changed their mind," Young told City Council. "So we have been looking."
He said the matter is now up to Council.
Mayor David Perkins said that was news to him and Council members would have to do some research before giving him an answer.
Young said he was not trying to get an answer that night.
"I just got the letter from the judge late Saturday night so that's why I didn't give it to you sooner," Young said.
Council member Jan Bishop asked how much money the organization has raised.
Young said nearly $6,000. The first phase will cost between $4,000 and $4,500, and includes graveling the site and laying 200 feet of rail, along with crossties, spikes and plates. A caboose would then be restored and installed.
"That was the $4,000 that you folks asked us to have in the bank before be we began laying rail and we raised that pretty quickly," Young said.
Phase 2 includes acquisition and restoration of a boxcar. Phase 3 is locomotive restoration. The fourth and final stage involves establishing a museum in the box car, along with a mini-park.
"We're not asking just to sit an old ugly train down there on the track," he said.
Council members, along with the mayor, agreed to look into the matter.
Young previously said that the five-year project could cost more than the $41,200 his group originally estimated.
Nicole Sturgill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.
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