An agreement between Tooele City Redevelopment Agency and Rocky Mountain Railcar and Repair will lead to several rail crossing improvements within Ninigret Depot.
The upgrades will make the park, formally known as Utah Industrial Depot, more attractive to rail-served industries.
Randy Sant, Tooele City’s economic development director, said there are three rail crossings on B Avenue, which the city is making major repairs to this year as part of its capital projects. During the repairs, it made sense to upgrade the rail crossings at the same time, he said.
“With the B Avenue construction occurring, it requires that we also do some upgrades to the rail lines,” said Sant. “We were [also recently] approached by Roger Peterson, [president of Rocky Mountain Railcar and Repair], about acquiring five acres of property at Ninigret [to do rail improvements]. Rather than sell property directly to him, we felt because of his experience with the railroad, that it was better to [convey him the property] to get [the depot’s rail] service [upgraded] for the future.”
In November 2012, the RDA acquired 5.19 acres of property from Tooele City for economic development purposes for $115,000. Rocky Mountain Railcar and Repair will now be given that property from the RDA to further expand its railroad network through Ninigret Depot.
The company plans to make public and private improvements to the railroad and crossings, said Sant. The improvements include new railroad ties, compacted ballast, rails, tie plates and spikes and concrete crossing sectionals.
The estimated cost for the improvements, including labor, is $112,000. All of the new improvements should be installed by June 17.
Tooele City Councilman Scott Wardle said that because the rail strength is being upgraded at Ninigret Depot, it will make it a much more attractive park to incoming businesses because of the strength of the rail.
The public rail crossing improvements are estimated to cost about $86,000, paid for by the rail company. The RDA will also give the company an economic development-based incentive to construct the private rail crossing improvements—estimated to cost about $26,000—to expand its rail operations. This adds up to the total estimated cost of $112,000.
“We needed to have a resolution to disclose the fact that there’s two different kinds of rails, a public rail and a private rail,” noted Sant. “We’re saying in this resolution that we don’t have a problem giving an incentive to the private sector, because the railroad isn’t private. It’s going to be an economic benefit to future clients and existing tenants. It’s one of the few rail-served pieces of property available in the state of Utah.”
The agreement was voted for unanimously by the Tooele City Council, which acts as the RDA board, during their Wednesday night meeting.