The City Center Industrial Park in Watertown. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Local economic development officials plan to survey regional companies next week to see if they would use proposed major upgrades to a railroad spur at the city’s industrial park.

The Watertown Local Development Corp., also known as the Watertown Trust, has been talking about constructing a staging area at the railroad spur that could help companies throughout the region.

Watertown Trust Chief Executive Officer Donald W. Rutherford and Jefferson County Economic Development officials David J. Zembiec and Marshall Weir plan to find out from companies in the region whether they would be interested in using the staging area at the City Center Industrial Park on South Bellew Street.

“We’ll make some calls next week,” Mr. Rutherford said.

Under the project, the staging area would allow companies to bring their products to the industrial park and ship them by rail rather than truck them to their destinations.

Manufacturers in a 50- or 75-mile radius are now trucking their products south to Utica and New York City, where they are transported by rail. They would use the staging area to save money on trucking costs.

Companies would pay a fee to use the new rail staging area.

The staging area would cost about $300,000.

The subject came up during the Watertown Trust meeting on Thursday.

Board members also talked once again about creating a second entrance into the industrial park that would help ease truck traffic.

Renzi Foodservice has requested that the city add a second entrance as it proceeds with an expansion project and plans to construct administrative offices in the park.

Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith said the second entrance also is needed for city police and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office vehicles going to and leaving the public safety building in the industrial park.

“There’s only one access for public safety,” Mayor Smith said, wondering what would happen if a car accident blocked off the park’s existing entrance.

The city has come up with preliminary drawings for the second entrance, which would be created by constructing a road to Coleman Avenue, near the Raymour & Flanigan plaza on Arsenal Street. Preliminary costs are estimated at about $4 million.

The Watertown Trust board also discussed funding sources for the second entrance.

Board members mentioned a variety of possible state and federal programs that could provide funding for the second entrance project.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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