By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Grafton – John Priscolli, owner of the Grafton & Upton Railroad, met with the Grafton Board of Selectmen Aug. 4 to discuss issues related to the railroad. The discussion focused on the beaten-up roadway where it crossed the tracks in the center of town.
According to Priscolli, repairs would be covered by federal funding as part of a program to eliminate hazardous railway crossings. If the town agrees to rebuild the crossings, Priscolli explained, the cost would be carried 90 percent by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. The remaining 10 percent would be paid by the Grafton & Upton Railroad.
The work would be state-of-the-art, with new rails, ties, crossing warnings and asphalt. Priscolli said this had already been accomplished in Upton in 2014 and was pending in Millbury.
Also at issue was the pending placement of a 13,000-square-foot Super Park adjacent to the railroad yard on Upton Street, according to Town Administrator Timothy McInerney. The spring Grafton Town Meeting had approved one of two articles needed to fund the park and allocate the land but a second article $143,000 to complete funding was defeated. This article will be up for another vote at the fall Town Meeting.
Priscolli said that he had not been aware of plans for Super Park when his company was making plans to renovate their property, but that rail traffic has picked up substantially between Hopedale and Grafton and needs the space for cars carrying building material. Most of the cars sit on the Upton Street site just a day or two, he said.
Selectmen will deliberate on seeking federal funding for the railway crossing repairs.