Commerce Chenango reports economic development activity

NORWICH – The rail line, the natural gas industry and creating jobs to fill the many empty manufacturing plants and downtown storefronts have kept Chenango County’s economic developers busy during the first half of the year.

In a requested report to the Planning & Economic Development Committee last week, Commerce Chenango President Maureen Carpenter outlined those activities and more, including recent loans made to businesses and start-ups, Empire Zone activities, and marketing and business recruitment projects.

The New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad remains inactive and in disrepair despite three years of effort. While a consultant’s study completed in February estimated only $15,000 to repair service to and from Norwich from the north, Carpenter said the railroad still intends to formally discontinue service.

About $1.2 million is needed to bring the entire line back to service, but only at a 10 mph rating as opposed to the 25 mph rating the railroad had previously. Carpenter said that an additional investment in the ties and other repairs would be needed to restore it to the higher rating. A federal appropriations request in the amount of $1.5 million has been filed with Congressman Acruri and Senator Schumer for the work.

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