Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Back To Work, Corman Style

Alright, enough of a rest from posting.  I guess that I will get back to seeing what is happening around town.

In checking my stat counters the other day, I began to see several searches concerning the Corman railroad action here in town.  I was already looking into this for myself and well on my way.

R. J. Corman has been on a buying run at the end of last year.  They bought the former CSX  property on both sides of the Alexandria Dr, just south of the existing crossing historically known as Viley.  Old newspaper accounts tell of this being a fairly popular picnic spot back when the railroad was new.  Being about 6 miles out from the center of town, many residents found this a calming Sunday pastime.  The fare was reasonable and the trip was short so a family could make a day of it.

This purchase makes sense if Corman is acquiring all the "Old Road" instead of leasing, as he has been.  The other purchase makes a little less sense.  Immediately adjacent to the former is a 50+ acre plot which had been rezoned I-1 (Industrial- light) and marketed as an industrial park.  Its major problem is that it is mostly flood plain since both Town Branch and Wolf Run meander through until they converge right before the rail crossing.

This is what is causing the inquiries.  

What does R. J. need with 50+ acres of flood plain?  He has about twice that much currently in the Rupp yard, but that has been rail property for over a hundred years.  The price was right, well below the listed price of a few years ago and the Urban County Government took the good land for the new recycling center.  I don't see Corman building a spur to this facility because they don't ship from the existing location right at the yard entrance.

The Corman crews are out there removing the old decrepit buildings and tidying up the stream banks and -in their terms- making the place look nice.  Most of Mr. Corman's property looks nice, real nice, but why does he NEED more "nice" looking land?  One thing that I have noticed, if you linger around Corman property and any of the crew is around - they WILL approach you.  They won't tell you very much but they will ask a lot of questions.

The work on the rail extension into the Rupp parking lot is again progressing with a concrete pad being poured in the excavated trench and rebar is in place for a retaining wall.  Supposedly this is for the dinner train if the proceed with plans to add an occasional run out of Lexington.  I guess it will also be used for the unloading of the Circus train when it comes to town.  This has been in the planning and construction phases for a while and they have spent a lot of money and time there.

So, what is Corman going to do with 50+ basically "unusable" but "nice" looking land.

An explanation that I have heard is: a location for a spur and a paint shed.  Do I believe that?  Not really.

Why would you locate a paint shed nearly 3 miles from all other maintenance structures in town?  With all the usable, level land adjacent to the tracks, also right next to the Town Branch Creek, can we risk a spill into this water body? Is 5 or so acres out of 50+ a good investment?  No, to all of the above.

There is a plan in the works for this piece of property.  I don't know what it is but I have a few ideas and I will continue to seek it out.  For now, you know what I do.