SAN LUIS VALLEY- In a meeting held by the Rio Grande County Commissioners, Chairman John Noffsker updated the board on the status of the SLRG Railroad and announced that it would be headed to state bankruptcy court July 1.
“We received notice from the bankruptcy trustee about a motion to be heard in front of a bankruptcy judge and that they are talking about going to auction on the San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad later in July,” stated Noffsker. County Attorney Ryan Dunn stated that the trustee had begun soliciting bids for the line as of June 18.
Now the line is being placed up for bid and besides Rio Grande County, no other entities have a say in what happens next. Dealings with the rail date back several years and several conversations between Valley government officials have occurred on and off the record to try and find a way to either keep the line or to have it converted to a walking trail.
It is now up to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to approve the sale of the line to the highest bidder and some fear the impact it could potentially have on the economy of the San Luis Valley.
In an interview conducted June 22, Noffsker stated that Rio Grande County Attorney Ryan Dunn is now in contact with other county attorneys throughout the impacted counties to consider additional options that may allow the Valley may be able to at least receive the property taxes owed by the line that amounts to just over $2 million. “If we can possibly acquire the taxes owed that alone would be a huge benefit to the Valley,” finished Noffsker. Noffsker has taken the lead on the railroad issue and has kept up to date with the proceedings after the line filed for bankruptcy November 2019.
During a meeting held by the board in November 2019, commissioners wanted to establish a statement through the adoption of a resolution. It was outlined in the resolution that the SLRG railroad still held monetary value to the San Luis Valley and that if the line were sold it would greatly impact the economy. It is estimated that the railroad brings in an average of $4 million a year in commerce, not including the tourism portion that brings in additional revenue.