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Rowan County officials planning for work on newly discovered land

Samantha Morrill

After a recent discovery, Rowan County officials said they are working to survey property they didn’t know they had. The land was the site of a railroad track and was purchased by the county back in the 1930s. Officials said it was originally going to be expanded into a road linking Rowan and Morgan counties before the project was abandoned and the land forgotten about.

Harry Clark, Rowan County Judge Executive, said now the county has funds to have the land surveyed to determine if it will be suitable for a rail trail.

“The grant has already been approved. Then we’ve already approved the surveying firm that’s surveying, and they will be working with it and they close out of it at the end of August. So, we’ll know something here pretty soon on whether we own it and whether its feasible to be able to open it up. We would love to be able to open it up to foot traffic and bike traffic from here to Morgan County,” said Clark.

Clark said that since the area was previously used for a railroad line, it is already quite flat, making it a nice spot for different outdoor recreation activities.

“It’s flat, of course it's going to go uphill and down hills, but you have to think a train had to pull them and up and down them. So, maybe a little bit of exercise and maybe I could do it, as well! But, it’s exciting to think that we would be able to use something that we’ve had. It’s really exciting to me to think that the county has owned something for that long and nobody even knew about it, and now we might actually get to use it and put it to a purpose,” said Clark.

Once they know exactly how much area they have to work with, Clark said officials will start planning a potential rail trail for public use. He added that the land will likely be used for a walking or biking path, but since they are still in the early stages of planning, he and other magistrates are open to suggestions.