NORWICH – The Chenango County Industrial Development Agency is planning to extend its lease agreement with the New York Susquehanna & Western Railway for another year.
The IDA owns title to the portion of the right-of-way that passes through Chenango County and leases it back to the Cooperstown-based railroad. The NYS&W, in turn, is exempt from paying real property taxes. The arrangement was made back in the 1980s as a way to preserve local rail service.
The current lease expires on April 27, and is part of a Payment In Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT, that has been in effect since 2002.
The IDA must renew the lease in order to contract for a $770,000 New York State Department of Transportation grant it was approved for late last year. The grant would go toward revitalizing the portion of the line that used to connect Prentice Street in Norwich to the town of Sherburne. That 12-mile stretch was part of a 40-mile line from Chenango Forks that the railroad planned to abandon in 2006 due to underutilization. It was subsequently damaged in the 100-year flood in June of that year, halting service ever since.
The railroad currently comes up from New Jersey to Binghamton, goes through to Syracuse, over to Utica and makes runs from Utica to Sherburne and back.