The Union County Redevelopment Commission (UCRC) met Thursday, Nov. 12 to review a request from the Indiana Eastern Railroad (IERR) to expand their operations at the Whitewater Industrial Park (WIP) on the east side of Cottage Grove.

IERR purchased property at WIP in 2010, approximately one-half mile south of its interchange with CSX Transportation. A railroad spur, approximately 1800 feet in length, was built on the property and has been used for storage of rail cars. More recently, IERR has installed a road and turnaround to allow transloading services, where freight is offloaded from rail cars onto tractor trailers for local distribution.

Under a 2011 agreement, UCRC offered to give IERR a 2.35 acre easement east of its existing property and in 2014, offered to sell a 7.2 acre parcel south of the spur to the railroad at a rate of $3,500 per acre. IERR now plans to exercise both options.

IERR operations manager Jason Bynum reports the easement will be used to extend the railroad spur with an additional 400 feet of track and a second spur if business demands. UCRC board member Dennis Estridge made a motion to approve the expansion of IERR’s WIP facility and the vote passed unanimously.

IERR began in 2005 with the purchase of 43 miles of the former Chesapeake and Ohio Railway extending from Richmond to the Fernald Preserve southwest of Ross, Ohio, 14 of which run the length of Union County. The railroad services Recycling Center Inc. of Richmond, Nutrien Ag Solutions in Kitchel and some small chemical plants in Ohio, in addition to offering forward railcar logistics services at Cottage Grove. IERR has recently been transitioning its business to focus on transloading operations and hopes the expansion of the WIP site with facilitate that growth. IERR has recently hired two additional Union County employees, bringing its Cottage Grove headcount to six employees.