NORWICH – Discretionary funds under the direction of Chenango County’s Planning & Economic Development Committee were granted Wednesday for a consultant’s study of the New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad line through the area.
In the fall of 2005, the Cooperstown-based railroad filed the initial documents required to begin abandonment procedures of its right-of-way between Chenango Forks and Sherburne. The railroad cited underutilization. Later in 2006, the line shut down after being damaged by record-breaking floods in the region.
County officials, Commerce Chenango executives and the Industrial Development Corporation have been trying to remedy the situation ever since. The IDA has held a payment-in-lieu of taxes agreement with the railroad since 1982.
According to Commerce Chenango President Maureen Carpenter, three options have developed from discussions with NYS&W officials: The IDA would take ownership of the tracks and bank them for future economic development, develop a rails-to-trails system, or create a scenic railroad linking Chenango County to northern destination sites such as Old Forge.