Residents Plan CSX Protest

Residents are expressing their concern over a potential CSX hub that may locate in Four Oaks.

Randy Johnson, who is one of several people expected to speak at Monday night’s Four Oaks town commissioners meeting, said he and other landowners don’t like being kept in the dark.

“(Four Oaks Mayor) Linwood Parker sent a letter to the governor of the state saying he’s got the majority of community support, but we’ve never had a community meeting,” Mr. Johnson said. “There’s going to be a lot of people (at Monday’s meeting) because a lot of people are mad, we don’t want this hub here.”

Mr. Johnson said “no one knew” about a special session called by the Four Oaks Commissioners to give their support to the project.

“The board had a special meeting on March 21 to vote on it, and they faxed a special notice (to The Four Oaks/Benson News And Review) but since the meeting was before the paper came out, no one knew about it,” Mr. Johnson said. “That’s when Linwood Parker and the board voted on it, he’s said he’s looking to speed up annexation and use eminent domain. They’re pretty strong words coming from a mayor, if he hasn’t had a community meeting about it.”

Mayor Parker told WRAL, “I hope that they locate here in Johnston County because of the jobs that will be created over time,” he said. “(We want) an offer that we felt like to be sufficient for these folks who will be displaced and whose lives will be disrupted.”

Mayor Parker said he hopes landowners who would have to move could be compensated with $25,000 an acre for their land, as well as double the value of any home or barn on the property.

“We’re in the dark. We don’t know anything and we can’t understand why we’ve been offered up when the people in Micro didn’t want this, and now the governor’s being misled (by Mayor Parker) saying we do want it here,” Mr. Johnson said. “It’s not about the landowners, it’s an industrial site. You can’t live a half mile from it, it will ruin your life. It stays lit up 24 hours a day, the beating and the banging, horns going up when the trains move, the pollution, how do they expect people to have a life?”

CSX has yet to comment on where the proposed site will be located.

Wherever it is located, the terminal will create 250 to 300 short-term construction jobs. After completion, it would create 300 permanent jobs with an average salary of $60,000.  As many as 1,500 jobs would be created by the regional rail hub including truck drivers and workers at distribution centers that locate near the hubs. Story courtesy The Daily Record