Johnston County, the Town of Four Oaks and Harnett County are all still keeping their eyes open for tracts of land that would convince CSX to locate in the area.
The railroad company had selected an area in Johnston County, which was initially met with excitement, until local residents realized their land could be taken with eminent domain.
The Johnston County Commissioners unanimously agreed to pull their support for the project once they heard complaints from residents.
WTSB reported that Commissioner Chairman Tony Braswell said the board does not support imminent domain and the taking of private property by CSX. He said he was “disappointed and appalled” by reports of how CSX representatives had approached property owners.
Johnston County Economic Development Director Chris Johnson said he hasn’t seen any movement on the project since the commissioners meeting.
“There hasn’t been any progress, it’s been quiet. CSX hasn’t reached out to the county since the initial announcement,” he said. “This is a great project, it means so much to Johnston County and just as much to Eastern North Carolina, however, there’s right ways and wrong ways of doing things. I think this got off on the wrong track, no pun intended.”
Mr. Johnson said he is still seeking residents along the I-95 corridor who would be interested in selling their property.
“The last thing I want to do is us to miss a project and two or three weeks later have someone give us a call and say we’d have been happy to sell,” he said. “Even if we’re not able to do something with CSX, we’re trying to build that relationship with property owners should another project come along next week, next month or next year, now I’ve got an idea of people who’d be amenable to selling.”
Harnett County Public Information Officer Brian Haney said Harnett, as well as every area with a CSX line, is looking for potential sites.
“Every county near Johnston that has a CSX line is looking to see if they have what (CSX) is looking for and Harnett County is no different,” Mr. Haney said. “I am not sure what the specifics are in terms of the site, but I know the economic development department has been looking at potential properties that meet the qualifications they’re looking for.” Story by The Daily Record