Wednesday, August 06, 2008

'Solvency Be Darned'

From the Radio Girl, yesterday:

The Local Government Commission approved hundreds of millions of dollars in debt issues and state government loans today -- everything from a 14M parking garage in Raleigh to scads of millions for water and sewer all over the state. But as always, it's the smaller line items that make the best stories.

Today's best item had to be the Tweetsie Railroad project. It's an NC landmark that's probably been losing money since it opened back in the 1950s. Turns out Tweetsie Railroad doesn't own all the land under its tracks. A couple of lots connected to the park are leased, and the two owners apparently decided they didn't want to re-up.

After protracted negotiations, the lots' owners convinced Watauga County to seek state help to buy the lots outright -- at 130% of their appraised value, no less -- and then lease them back to the park for a pittance, turning a nice profit for the owners while keeping Tweetsie running, solvency be darned, for at least one more generation of Western NC kids.

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