City administrator notes spur’s economic value
By John Faucher
New London City Administrator Kent Hager said he remains hopeful that the city will receive a Department of Transportation grant to restore a railroad spur to Granite Valley Lumber.
The City purchased the rail spur from Canadian National in 2010 for net liquidation value.
The rail has not been used for seven years. Outagamie County has since paved over the crossing on County Trunk S.
Last year the city parks and recreation committee proposed tearing up the tracks for salvage and using the easement to bring the Newton Blackmour recreation trail into the city.
Hager asked them to reconsider, and requested time to seek grant funding to keep the line in for future use. In addition to the current business that could benefit from the line, Hager said there is well over 80 acres of vacant land that would lose the advantage that the rail spur represents.
“Large, vacant parcels of rail accessible land are rare in the Fox Cities,” said Hager.
In October of last year, city council referred the matter back to parks and recreation. They reconsidered their vote to tear up the tracks and Hager pursued the grant application with the DOT.
Earlier this month, two representatives from the DOT Division of Railroads and Harbors visited with Hager at city hall.
Railroad Facilities Engineer Steve Sams and Railroad Programs Specialist Rich Kedzior walked the rail line with Hager.
Hager said they found the rail itself in very good condition, but many of the ties need to be replaced.
They informed Hager that New London’s grant application was the most complete one received. It was also the only one submitted by a local government.
Hager said there are other applications to review, and he said notification of awards likely would not happen until the end of the year.
“All is good news as far as this project is concerned,” said Hager.
He was anticipating the city would need to have a full engineering study done on the tracks, however, after inspection Kedzior and Sams did not feel it was needed at this time.
If awarded, the state would fund 80 percent of the repairs and Granite Valley would fund 20 percent.