Parksley Supports Rail Biking Proposal, Discusses Blight

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By Carol Vaughn —

Parksley officials approved a letter of support for NYP&N RR, Ltd., whose principals want to organize a rail bike excursion from Parksley to Bloxom.
Rail biking is riding pedal-powered machines on railroad tracks that have no train traffic. It is becoming a popular tourism activity in places around the nation, including the Catskills and the Adirondacks, as well as in other countries such as Norway, according to a June 2021 article on the website hitraveltales.com
Roger Malik, secretary of NYP&N RR, wrote the town seeking its support for the venture.
Malik and John Paffrath of the organization in 2018 pitched a proposal to the Accomack-Northampton Tranportation District Commission to provide transportation, including tourist excursions and other services, using the railroad tracks that run along the Eastern Shore’s spine.
The Surface Transportation Board since then approved the railroad owner’s petition to abandon the tracks between Cape Charles and Hallwood. The owner, Canonie-Atlantic, since has pursued the idea of a hiking and bicycling trail along the right of way.
Parksley is home to the Eastern Shore Railway Museum.
Ellen Johnson of the museum told the Town Council the museum will participate in the upcoming observance of the 250th anniversary of America’s independence in 2026.
Plans are being made to hold programs throughout the year to celebrate the anniversary.
Among ideas being discussed is a Victorian homes tour in Parksley.

Neighborhood Blight Discussed

A resident’s letter about properties in town that are derelict or need repairs — including houses with boarded-up windows, debris on the porch, or inoperable vehicles in the yard, among others — prompted discussion by council members. The town recently enacted a blight ordinance.
“The town just passed the blight ordinance,” said Councilman Mark Layne, adding it will take time to address the problems.
“We’re not going to be popular people with a lot of people that have to fix their home, but we’re not here for a popularity contest, either,” he said.

Appointments

The council appointed George Duer as zoning administrator and appointed Councilman Sam Welch to the personnel committee.

Text Messaging Service Discussed

The council discussed subscribing to a service that would send automated text messages to residents to inform them of important items, such as water being turned off for a period and the like.
TextMyGov would cost the town $3,000 a year for 25,000 text messages, according to town clerk Lauren Lewis. Councilman Henry Nicholson recommended officials continue to explore other options and other members agreed.

Trunk-or-Treat Event Planned

The council voted to hold a trunk-or-treat event for Halloween.