Deep River Rail Trail Blues

At the June 3rd Board of Commissioners meeting Mayor Danny R. Shaw requested permission to spend $300 to have a piece of property appraised in order to make an offer to buy said property from Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS). The property in question has been a point of contention among the board members for several years now. If you are unfamiliar with this issue you can read the rest of the story by clicking here and here.

Mayor Shaw’s failure to actively pursue acquisition of this property over the roughly ten years he’s been managing development of Ramseur’s segment of the trail is now holding up the project. By the mayor’s own admission we have over $16,000 in grant money from the Randolph Community Health Foundation – awarded based on false information – “in limbo” because we, the Town, have not obtained ownership of, or a right of way across, that property.

(Forward to 42:18 in the video if it doesn’t start at that location)

Why do we not yet control that property? Because Mayor Shaw failed to keep the topic on the board’s monthly agenda until that property and all others needed to build this segment of trail was legally owned or controlled by the Town of Ramseur. Part of a mayor’s duties include helping to set the monthly meeting agenda, and Mayor Shaw spends at least part of almost every business day in his office at the municipal building. There is no excuse for this.

The Board of Commissioners agreed to pay for the appraisal, after which an offer will be made to NS to purchase the land. NS has stated in writing that they are willing to entertain an offer, but we will get no favors or discounts from them as indicated in an email to our attorney, Bob Wilhoit, dated 20 February 2019, reproduced below.


From: Huffman, Craig M. [mailto:REDACTED]
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2019 2:53 PM
To: ‘Bob Wilhoit’
Subject: RE: Town of Ramseur NC/ Deep River Rail Trail; Tax parcel ID 8702 51 3899

Bob,

NS would be willing to sell this piece of property to the Town. However, nothing is set in stone and I will need to get many levels of approval for permission to sell the property. Also, I explained to Commissioner Smith via email, there will not be any kind of discount and the town can expect pay above appraised value, as NS does not need to sell this property.

Respectfully,

Craig M. Huffman
Senior Property Agent
Norfolk Southern Corporation


As you can see, the railway corporation is willing to work with the Town, but they are a for-profit corporation, and as such are neither inclined nor required to do anything out of charity or good will towards our or any other community.

If this section of trail is not completed within the timeframe required by Randolph Community Health Foundation’s grant criteria the foundation would be well within its rights to demand that money be returned. If those funds are returned there is no guarantee that we would ever be awarded funding from that source again. This problem falls squarely on the shoulders of Mayor Danny R. Shaw.

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