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    Old ties leave Oldsmar in knots

    City officials have been trying since September to get CSX Transportation to remove the stacks of old wooden ties.

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published November 28, 2001

    OLDSMAR -- Stacked into piles more than 10 feet high, thousands of old wooden railroad ties have littered the landscape for months.

    That has to end, according to the city.

    Officials have been trying to get CSX Transportation to haul away the railroad ties sitting on the north side of State Road 580 between Bayview Boulevard and State Street.

    The piles sit less than a block from Oldsmar City Hall and the city's downtown redevelopment district.

    "They are a real eyesore," said City Council member Don Bohr. "Anything that wants to hide in there -- snakes and vermin of all types -- its an ideal spot for them."

    The company is scheduled to appear Dec. 6 in front of the Oldsmar Code Enforcement Board to answer complaints that the ties are a public nuisance and violate city rules.

    Oldsmar community development director Nick Staszko sent a letter to CSX in September asking the company to remove the ties as soon as possible, saying they "represent health, safety and welfare issues to the community."

    The ties showed up this spring, Staszko said.

    "Then they just stayed there and stayed there and stayed there," he said.

    The railroad has been moving the wooden beams "a few hundred at a time" and plans to hire a contractor to finish the cleanup by the end of the year and haul them away, said Susan Keegan, CSX Transportation spokeswoman. The piles were stacked earlier this year as part of the company's regular replacement of old railroad and crossing ties, she said.

    "It's just part of maintaining and upgrading the track," Keegan said.

    A notice of violation the city sent to CSX earlier this month says the three piles are a public nuisance under the city's code of ordinances.

    CSX was given 10 days in October to haul away the ties, which are next to a park-and-ride lot on SR 580. Since the company missed the deadline, it now has to appear before the code enforcement board, which could impose fines of up to $250 per day for every day that the ties aren't removed.

    - Staff writer Ed Quioco can be reached at (727) 445-4183 or

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