Monroe rail line may open April 1

WOODSFIELD – The tentative date for opening the 12-mile short line railroad being developed in Monroe County is April 1, according to a report given Tuesday to the Monroe County commissioners.

David Reid, managing director of Hannibal Real Estate LLC, brought the commissioners up to date on the progress of the railway and general economic development at the Hannibal Industrial Park.

Reid said an interchange is being built near the former Ohio Ferro-Alloys plant as well as interchanges in several other places. New railroad ties are being installed to replace old ties in several areas.

Plans for reviving the railroad were announced during the latter part of 2012. It is resulting from a deal between Hannibal Real Estate and Carload Express of Oakmont, Pa.

It was noted the railway will haul sand, concrete and other materials used to crack the Monroe County’s Marcellus and Utica Shale formations.

Jason Hamman, who handles economic development for the county, last month noted, “This is the only rail line in Monroe County. With its reactivation, the county will now be competitively positioned to attract the types of companies that are investing in the Utica and Marcellus Shale …, many of which are seeking rail-served sites.

Hamman represents the Silverlode Consulting Corp., and the county commissioners have a professional service agreement with that company to provide economic development consulting services such as business retention and expansion, business attraction and maintaining an available properties database.

The Silverlode representative said the railroad could serve any of the existing companies in that area as well as potential new industries that could open along the line. It will lead from the Hannibal Industrial Park, which is the site of the former Ormet Rolling Mill, to connect with the Norfolk Southern Railway near Powhatan Point. The railroad has not been in operation for a decade.

“This is a big economic development for Monroe County as the Hannibal Industrial Park will now offer barge and rail services, along with indoor and outdoor space available for lease,” noted Hamman when plans were announced in December.

In other matters Tuesday, commissioners signed two heating, ventilation and air conditioning maintenance agreements with Casto Technical Services, Charleston, W.Va.

Both agreements are renewals, and one is for the Monroe County Senior Center at a cost of $7,077 per year payable at the rate of $1,769.25 a quarter in advance. The other is for the Monroe County Care Center with the cost being $1,407 a year payable at the rate of $351.75 a quarter in advance.

County Engineer Lonnie Tustin was present for a bid opening for washed limestone. Bids were received from Shelly and Sands, Rayland; Martin Materials, Parkersburg; and Mutzer Crushed Stone, Tell City, Ind. Tustin took the bids under advisement and will report next week to commissioners.

Commissioners signed a building rental agreement with the Sardis Volunteer Fire Department, and it involves the commissioners and the Monroe County Emergency Medical Services Association.

A motion was approved to accept the resignation of Jody Schaffer as a business officer at the care center, effective Feb. 1.

Three executive sessions were held, and no action was taken in regard to the matters discussed. Two of the sessions involved interviews with two persons interested in a position at the Monroe County Department of Job and Family Services, and the other was with Dog Warden Ronda Piatt concerning personnel.