Dear Sirs: I would like to respond to the opinions expressed in "Our Thoughts - Railroaded" on May 22, where you presented your opinion on acquiring the abandoned Norfolk / Southern rail line.
First, I am not sure that newspapers should express opinions; rather, I feel it is your job to express the facts and let the readers form an educated opinion.
I also found it ironic that you applauded the Newton County School Board for being fiscally conservative in the same opinon-piece and then blasted the Covington City Council for their conservatism. I would like to challenge some of the statements you made.
Just because the price is reasonable does not make anything a good deal. How many Covington News employees have purchased a second or third home in this economy? You can get foreclosed homes for 30-40 percent of their previous values; the price is reasonable, why haven't you invested in that tremendous "opportunity"?
You state the possible uses for this property are "endless." Could you please name five other uses for this property? I only see two, as train track, or a biking/jogging/walking path. The property owners who border this property have expressed concerns about having a constant stream of strangers near their property. As you are aware, criminal acts have occurred on the Silver Comet Trail.
Why are certain council members against acquiring the property? Could it be because of their business experience? Most governments are just starting to feel the pinch that private business owners have been dealing with for the past two years, which means that governments will have a two-year lag behind private business, when and if a recovery ever starts. You should be thankful that your elected local leaders are not following the example of our federal government and spending money that they do not have during a financial crisis.
If this were the great opportunity you say it is, I imagine a private citizen, business or group would step-up and make the purchase. Why hasn't one of our larger industrial companies purchased the property so they could name it after their business like they do for a sports arena or stadium, and call it the "XYZ Corporation Trail" (or The Covington News Trail)? What better way to prove how "Green" your company is?
The fact that they are unwilling to take that gamble tells you why this deal is not worthy of your tax dollars right now.
I would suggest that the individuals and businesses that are for this purchase should create a partnership (private or public/private) and either purchase the property with your own money, or see if Norfolk Southern will allow you to put an "option or long-term lease/purchase agreement" on the property. Liberals always have great ideas for how to spend other people's money (tax dollars), but rarely reach into their own pockets first. There is no reason to rush this deal, as there is no other use for this property, and it is not prime real estate.
Who knows, if you wait around long enough, Norfolk/Southern may donate the property to prove how "Green" they are.