Venture to bring industrial center to Churchill County on track
June 26, 2017
FALLON — The development of a rail park and industrial center west of Fallon has taken a major step.
Nathan Strong, executive director of the Churchill Economic Development Authority (CEDA), said his agency, the Truckee Carson Irrigation District (TCID), Omaha Track and the Highway 95 Rural Development Authority are all working together on the rail park adjacent to Hazen.
"Omaha Track has partnered to build a rail center to serve Omaha Track and local businesses as part of Churchill County and northern Nevada's growing rail-served industrial development," Strong said.
Strong said Omaha Track needed a yard and western presence.
Rachel Dahl, CEDA's former executive director, pitched the idea for a rail park two years ago. First, the Churchill County Commission had to change the parcel of land in the A10 district owned by TCID to industrial zoning. The commission supported the approval, and Chairman Pete Olsen said the rail park would bring significantly profitable development to Churchill County.
In the infant stages of gaining interest for the rail park, Dahl said the land must be owned by a government agency. She also said a railroad design company was working on a conceptual design for the area.
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Strong said the future rail park is located at the beginning of the Mina Branch and the Fallon Industrial Lead north of U.S. Highway 50 alternate. Strong looks at the development as the next major step for Churchill County to grow as a logistics center strategically situated at or near the crossroads of major highways.
"When completed, the development will be able to provide direct rail access to Omaha Track and other occupants as well as provide transloading services to regional businesses, allowing them to ship to and from locations across North America and access to the global market through west coast seaports," Strong said.
The senior manager of marketing and sales for Omaha Track lauds her firm's expansion in Churchill County.
"We look forward to working with TCID and CEDA as well as members of the community to build a multi-commodity rail served industrial park in Hazen," Lisa Roberts said. "It's a great location, and we believe it will be a project that will have a positive impact on every member of Churchill County and the surrounding communities."
Commissioner Bus Scharmann attended a meeting in October 2016 that discussed the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center's (TRIC) impact to the area, especially with the number of firms expanding there. He said transportation is crucial to both the Fallon and Fernley markets.
TCID District Manager Rusty Jardine said the agency is pleased to be working with Omaha Track to make the rail park a reality.
"Long ago, the leaders of our nation envisioned for us a community developed and growing as a result of our taming the desert with reliable water supplies," Jardine said. "This rail park, located at the very portal to this nation's centers of commerce, will serve to launch economic development in our region and will further serve in supporting irrigated agriculture and other industry into the next century."
At a prior CEDA Business Council breakfast, Eric Kreuzberg, Union Pacific's regional manager for marketing and sales, said rail opportunities continue to increase in the area for hauling grain and for serving mining interests. He also said the Tesla plant between Reno and Fernley at TRIC may have an effect of rail growth and opportunity for Churchill County and the surrounding area.
Kreuzberg said UP also improved five crossings on the Fallon Industrial Lead and has been working with local agencies such as CEDA for new development.
Now, with Omaha Track on board, Strong said the plan to move ahead is what he calls "groundbreaking."
"Not only will this project provide a stable revenue stream for TCID, it will directly contribute to the success of Omaha Track who will be an incredible partner for Fallon, Churchill County and the northern Nevada community," Strong said. "Having them on site with their expertise in rail development will immediately impact the region's current and future rail served industries."
Strong said representatives from Omaha Track will speak at CEDA's Oct. 11 Business Council breakfast to discuss the development of the project, its role in the local economy and the future of rail transportation. For information on the project, visit http://www.cedaattracts.com.