County releases funding for railroad restoration

NORWICH – Work to restore the defunct Utica Main Line from Greene to Sherburne may be one step closer to fruition, thanks in part to action taken by Chenango County officials last week to release its share of funds for the project.

On Thursday, Commerce Chenango President and CEO Steve Craig appeared before the members of the Chenango County Finance Committee to update local officials on the railroad revitalization project and request that the county disburse the local share for the project. While committee members that agreed funds should be released to the CCIDA on an “as needed” basis, Craig requested $24,494 for a detailed engineering report, which the agency aims to have underway by the end of the winter season.

Preliminary reports of damage to the Utica Main Line were gathered prior to major flooding events that caused further damage to the railroad in the northern parts of the county last summer. Estimates of the entire project currently near $5.9 million based on those early reports, said Craig. But new estimates are likely to alter the scope of the project.

A resolution passed by the Chenango County Board of Supervisors in 2012 stipulates the Chenango County Development Agency (CCIDA), the developmental arm of Commerce Chenango, will receive up to $200,000 local share for the project, though the CCIDA currently estimates the county’s share may range lower, between $150,000 and $180,000.

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