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CSX Transportation, Inc.

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CSX ‘Trees for Tracks’ volunteers plant 100 trees on Waycross site railroad donated to city.


CSX brought together City Year, Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees) and about 50 volunteers to plant 100 trees at the intersection of Brunswick Avenue and Pendleton Street, an area that used to be a CSX rail line that crossed through the middle of the city of Waycross, Ga. In 2012, CSX officially donated the rail line to the City of Waycross. The tree species planted included White Oak, Overcup Oak and Willow Oak, all selected for their ability to thrive in the Georgia landscape.

One of the event participants, Gus Karle, started as a trainman in Waycross and worked his way up to terminal superintendent before retiring in 1983. He remembers when the railline ran through the middle of the city, before it was moved to the west side of town in 2009.

"The relocation of the tracks greatly improved vehicular traffic flow," Karle said. "The move also gives citizens a safe place to walk around. I compliment CSX for this program. I feel it shows the company really is a corporate citizen." What had become an abandoned stretch of land will now be a hub of activity. "CSX shares a long history with Waycross, and we are excited to show our commitment to improve our environmental impact by making the communities we serve cleaner and greener," said Brian McDonald, assistant division manager at CSX.

The planting is one part of a larger project. The Rails to Trails program will transform the former rail line into an oasis. A trail will wind along the one-mile park, and exercise areas will be built. The addition of a playground has been discussed, as well as a skate park.

Wilton DeLoach, public works director for the city of Waycross, hopes the area will promote a healthier lifestyle and more unity. "We hope the addition of the trail will bring neighbors together," he said. "The project also will be a beautiful and long-lasting legacy for our children." Clarence Billups, mayor and 37-year resident, plans for the trail to be near completion by April 2014. He believes the project will greatly enhance the area. He hopes people will be motivated to move to Waycross and that present businesses will be empowered to relocate downtown.

"I hope this is the first of many projects we work on for the city," said Brian Bennett, terminal superintendent at CSX. "Waycross is a big part of CSX, and CSX is a big part of Waycross. We will continue to do what we can to make the city a beautiful place to live."

CSX Corporation, based in Jacksonville, Fla., is one of the nation’s leading transportation companies, connecting customers to ports, distribution centers and markets across the eastern United States. CSX created Beyond Our Rails as an extension of our organization—displaying our commitment to Safety, Community, the Environment and Wellness through grass-roots volunteerism and focused corporate giving—actively engaging employees and non- profit organizations in programs and initiatives designed to make the world a better place.

City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization, founded in 1988, that partners with public schools to help keep students in school and on track to graduate. In 23 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates, this innovative public-private partnership brings together teams of young AmeriCorps members who commit to a year of full-time service in schools. Corps members support students by focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs.

Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and livability of cities by planting and caring for trees. With over 200 member organizations in 44 states and Canada, ACTrees engages volunteers to take action to improve the environment where 93% of people live: in cities, towns, and metropolitan areas. Together, ACTrees member organizations have planted and cared for over 15 million trees with help from over 5 million volunteers.

CSX is proud to sponsor organizations like City Year and ACTrees, in their efforts to improve parks, schools, recreational centers and other public places in the many types of rural, suburban and urban communities that CSX connects and serves. In September, the railway was added to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for its achievements in environmental performance, including reaching ahead of schedule the company’s voluntary goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by eight percent and its "Trees for Tracks" program to plant one tree for each of the 21,000 miles of CSX track.

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Location: Waycross, GA

Published: April 5, 2013