Railroad Corner

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The city of Orangeburg has purchased several parcels of property on Railroad Corner over the years as it works toward the area’s revitalization. Officials say the project can work even though the city doesn’t own all the Railroad Corner property, like this building.

Orangeburg city leaders have had their eyes set on revitalizing the historic Railroad Corner for many years.

The corner, which is traditionally defined as the area bounded by Russell, Treadwell and Boulevard streets, has often been called the “gateway” to the city and a key component in the future development of the downtown Orangeburg district.

Over the past four years, the city has purchased a number of properties on Railroad Corner to help lock down its plans for revitalization.

The city owns 12 parcels totaling 1.305 acres with a total assessed value of $288,220. The buildings have 15,984 square feet of space with a total building value of $137,020, according to the University of North Carolina-Development Finance Initiative.

The city hired UNC-DFI to help walk it through the process of developing the property.

Sonyia Turner, UNC-DFI’s project manager, said she could not disclose what other properties the city may want to purchase or what property owners the city is negotiating with.

“Once the city does have site control, the information will be publicly available,” Turner said.

Several attempts to reach City Administrator Sidney Evering for comment were unsuccessful.

According to the Orangeburg County GIS mapping, there are only two properties remaining on the Railroad Corner that have yet to be purchased by the city.

One is about .11 acres of property owned by Myra Payne. The parcel address is 139 Boulevard Street.

The property was appraised at $30,540 in 2017. Its taxable value and assessed value for the same year was $1,830, according to county property records.

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Currently, the property is occupied by Payne Bail Bonds and Fadez Barbershop.

Payne said the only thing she has heard about the Railroad Corner project is what she has read in the paper. Payne said she has heard conflicting reports.

She declined to comment on whether the city has approached her about buying the property, saying the matter is “personal.”

She also declined to be interviewed on the telephone and said she would call this reporter back when she is ready to talk in person.

Another property is owned by a Leslie Black from Buford, Georgia.

The property is .02 acres with a total appraised value of $6,206 in 2017. Its assessed value for the same year was $370.

Attempts to reach Black were unsuccessful.

Turner said the Railroad Corner project is viable with the property the city already owns.

“We believe the properties the city currently owns offer an opportunity for an attractive project on the Railroad Corner site,” Turner said. “Of course, additional acquisitions would be helpful.”

There are three other properties owned by City of Orangeburg Forfeited Land Commission near the vicinity of the Railroad Corner, but those properties are not considered part of the project scope, Turner said.

“This is largely because they are not contiguous to the rest of the city-owned properties identified for the Railroad Corner redevelopment,” Turner said.

There will be a Railroad Corner redevelopment update and working session on site connectivity and pedestrian safety at 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, at the city gymnasium at 410 Broughton Street.

The purpose of the working session is to give an update on the progress of the Railroad Corner and provide an opportunity for the elected officials and representatives to give feedback concerning design and connectivity to the site.

Specifically, traffic patterns and pedestrian connectivity and safety around the Railroad Corner site, in particular the intersection of Russell Street, Magnolia Street and the railroad tracks, will be discussed.

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