“This community is moving forward. Washington is leading the way. This is a solid step forward,” Gov. Jay Nixon said as the new rail transfer facility in the city was dedicated Monday.
The governor was the main speaker and was generous in his praise of Washington municipal officials and civic leaders in the building of the rail team track for local industries at the end of West Main Street next to the Canam Steel plant, one of the industries that plans to use the facility.
It was a $4.2 million project that the state helped build through a Community Development Block Grant because of the new jobs that facility will play a role in creating.
“Up-to-date infrastructure is a critical factor in economic development, and rail infrastructure is a vital part of moving products made in Missouri,” the governor said. “I’m pleased my administration was able to help the city of Washington make this facility a reality. We’ve already seen these two companies (Canam Steel and CG Power Systems) create more than 300 new, local jobs as a result of this project, with more to come. It’s a great day for this region’s economy, and for our state,” he added.
The state awarded $2,052,810 in CDBG funding to the city for the project. The city also received $973,551 in federal funds through the federal Economic Development Administration. The city’s share was $1.1 million.
“Nothing makes me more proud than to visit a community like this in Missouri that is moving forward. This project will give Washington a competitive edge and help the state also, and it will improve the quality of life in the community,” Gov. Nixon said. He congratulated everyone who was involved in the project, including Union Pacific Railroad, which will utilize the team track.
Mayor Sandy Lucy, who introduced the governor, mentioned the many people involved in the project and thanked them for their help. She especially thanked the “citizens of Washington” who approved a tax that provided the city’s share of the cost. She mentioned the years of work on the project by Dick Oldenburg, former city economic development director, and Darren Lamb, who replaced Dick when he retired.
Also mentioned and given thanks were Ron Unnerstall, engineer on the project; Downtown Washington Inc., which administered the project funding; the two local industrial groups, 353 Redevelopment Corporation and Civic Industrial Corporation; the state and federal agencies involved in the project; our representatives in Washington, D.C.; Union Pacific Railroad; state preservation officials; former Mayor Dick Stratman; members of the city council; MoDOT; and CG Power Systems and Canam Steel, which provided the jobs to qualify the city for grants.
“The most significant part of the project, which also includes upgrades to wastewater collection, storm sewer and water distribution, is the new rail spur that will allow companies to ship and receive goods via Union Pacific Railroad,” the governor said.
The city actually has been working on this project for at least eight years. A spinoff is that some of the railroad materials and cars will be moved from Front Street to the team track.