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Neighbors plea with rail company as it’s proposed project nears milestone

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) – A South Cedar Rapids community continues to fight against a proposed rail yard in it’s neighborhood, just days before the plan is slated to go before the city planning commission.

“It’s definitely a beautiful area, and it’s going to destroy this area,” Dustin Carson of the Rompot-Cedar Valley neighborhood said.

“Just for the safety sake of the Prairie Park Fishery, I don’t like it going there,” Patricia Shannon of 24th Avenue said.

Cargill Corn Milling hopes to add a new rail yard just down the street from her house, between Otis Road and the prairie Park Fishery Trail Head. The rail and agriculture company has been pushing for this since November, 2018 and residents have not wavered in their abhorrence of it.

“Give the whole neighborhood, the whole city of Cedar Rapids a guarantee, that the noise pollution won’t exceed the limits, that property values won’t tank,” Rick Stanek said, whose property backs up against the proposed lot.

Residents have environmental concerns, because of the proximity to two parks and the Cedar River, as well as concerns about the value of their homes.

“This spot has less impact to the community and the environment,” Cargill Facility Manager Dan Pulis said of their decision making. “We believe that it was the better of the two solutions that we had as viable candidates.”

Cargill also contacted a third party to research how adding a rail yard affects property values.

“The report came back and indicated there was minimal impact,” Pulis said. ‘The neighborhood has a railway that runs through it already.”

The project is on Thursday’s city planning commission agenda, but the neighbors collectively asked Cargill to wait nine to 12 more weeks before proceeding; to work through their concerns.

Cargill directs anyone with questions on the project to their FAQ page.

 

Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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