July 2009

Granville County

NCRT's county contacts read in local press the Public Notice by NS of its intent to "Discontinue Service" on the rail line between Oxford NC and Clarksville VA, a corridor impacting one of the County's planned greenways. NCRT, based upon advice from the Surface Transportation Board contact, recommended the County respond with a "Notice of Comment" which NCRT drafted for the County and which the County used in a May 11th letter to the STB, NS and the Governor to alert them to the county's interest in the corridor.

Coast Guard Rail Trail

(Weeksville - Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County)
NCRT answered a query from Lt. Tom Huntley of the US Coast Guard Station, who was referred to NCRT by NCDOT Bike/Ped Division. Contact was made with Dave Copley, NCRT's county contact person. Questions remain about Norfolk Southern (NS) and the C&A RR future relationship. The Weeksville Spur needs to be Federally railbanked by NS with DENR for an agreed upon price - another State Trail.

Deep River Rail Trail

(Franklinville - Randolph County) Perry Conner, Franklinville's Town Commissioner has supervised with assistance of property owner Harvey Harmon the building of a 12 car parking lot, access trail past the town's waste water treatment plant and the placing of geotextile and granite screening over the railbed for the creation of a .78 mile section of the DRRT on Harmon's property next to the river. Putting up gates, signs, information kiosk are yet to be complete. An early September opening to the public is expected. Marlys de Alba, Landscape Architect Professor at Wake Community College visited the Randolph Industries site for a second look (on 6/29) at the design challenge of getting the trail safely through the industrial site, and to begin to build a Base Map. Marlys has offered to do it as a summer project. The two grant requests for funding were denied. Z.Smith Reynolds because it had brick and mortar in the second phase, Adopt-A-Trail because it did not put trail on the ground. It is hoped Marlys' proposed design can be marketed to other funders.

Washington-Greenville Greenway

(Pitt and Beaufort Counties)
The committee met April 18th, May 12th and June 16th in Washington at the Parks and Recreation Building. Vernon Teeter unfurled the Washington-Greenville Greenway banner on the 18th at the Cycle NC event and got email addresses of seventeen local trail supporters. Mayor Judy Jennette will be managing the list and sent out her first "blast" June 23rd establishing contact. Bob Henkle of the city's planning board has joined and has begun trail easements analysis on other utility corridors. The committee decided not to take the Summer off. Their next meeting is July 21st.

North Carolina Rail Corridor Round Table

"Best possible use of the State's rail corridor assets" RCRT met in Raleigh at Bailey & Dixon with conference call on April 27th and June 22nd. Facilitated by NCRT.

  • Legislative Watch
    HB 116 (Railroad Corridor Management) got through the House and was referred to Senate Judiciary One Committee. Unfortunately requested help from Edgar Miller, lobbyist for CTNC, was not able to get added our concerns, State's Right of first refusal of any abandonment, Public Purpose added to railroad condemnation authority and leasing of state owned railroad easements for trail use. A long shot was suggested that to see if there is a friend on Judiciary One, but are not hopeful for these changes this late in the legislative process.
  • Corridor Preservation
    Mike Domonkos reported efforts around Hendersonville to Brevard are looking pretty good. It is picking up more local support while trying to avoid enflaming the adjacents. Hendersonville, Laurel Park, Flat Rock and the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce have each formally supported the rail-trail effort between Hendersonville and Brevard. The trail is now being called the "Ecusta Trail", a name having significance in Transylvania County.
  • Corridor Conversion
    NCRT had representation at two of the South East High Speed Rail (SEHSR) Trail Concept Public Workshops. SEHSR- Raleigh-Richmond & East Coast Greenway. Initially NCDOT said it was up to local governments to plan for the trail, but now it is being planned by a Trail Coordinator Consultant, Keith Lewis PE with Martin/Alexiou/Bryson PLLC of Raleigh. The trail design will incorporate local trail or greenway plans. NCRT expressed concern that the rail corridor portions not used by the SEHSR be Federally Railbanked to avoid ownership issue caused by state railbanking and leasing law. The Wake Forest greenway system will take the East Coast Greenway out of the rail study area into their own greenway system to connect it to the Neuse River Trail.
  • Public Policy/Courts/Legal Issues
    Pam Davis, NCDOT Rail Division Planner forwarded a notice "PUBLIC & MEDIA ADVISORY: SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD TO HOLD JULY 8 PUBLIC HEARING ON IMPACT, EFFECTIVENESS, FUTURE OF RAIL BANKING" she had received from the Surface Transportation Board. NCRT sent a Notice of Comment, authored by Capehart and Domonkos: "Please accept this as a Notice of Intent to participate by written comment in STB Ex Parte No. 690 - Twenty -five years of Rail Banking from North Carolina Rail-Trails, Inc. (NCRT)" (dated June 22, 2009) Copies sent to the Governor, Secretary of Transportation and all NCRT Board Members.