City Purchases Simpson Railroad Property

[VIDEO] Tuesday night, the Shelton City Council approved the necessary resolution allowing the City to purchase several Simpson Timber Company properties including the former railroad corridor that bisects downtown Shelton.

City staff has been discussing the sale of these properties with Simpson for more than a year. City Manager Jeff Niten:

According to the purchase and sale agreement, the purchase price for the 14 identified parcels is “Buyer Assumption of Risk for the Railroad Properties and Buyer Release and Indemnity for City Properties” without “monetary consideration.” However, the City is responsible for Mason County Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) which requires an appraised value. The agreement establishes that “selling price” at $63,860. The REET is estimated at $1,022 but is not expected to exceed $1,200.

The properties include the entirety of the Railroad Right-of-Way (from First St. adjacent to and immediately north of Kneeland Park west to the Highway 101 right-of-way) and parcels that are described as “generally steep and/or remnants.” These properties will be considered for potential recreational use with the possibility of a trail along the former railroad tracks while the other parcels will likely be left undeveloped to provide open space.

There is concern of contamination along the rail corridor but no formal analysis has been completed. However, the City staff briefing on the purchase states that based on other jurisdictions with similar “rails to trails” programs, “it is reasonable to expect little to no contamination” and if any mitigation is required it will “likely be an asphalt cap.”

According to Niten, this purchase was the result of an extensive public process which will continue.

A search of found that the Shelton City Commission directed staff to begin the process to acquire the railroad corridor in December 2016:

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