1988 – Opposition to Special Use Zoning for Metra Rail Yard

Categories: LWVEA History,Where We Stand

The League of Women Voters opposes the special use zoning for Metra to build a railroad yard south of National Street. The League has a long history of preservation and protection of open space. We have especially encouraged conservation and natural development of the river front. We have testified before the city council on numerous occasions to open up the river front whenever possible as natural lands and park land. We have been most gratified with the development of the Fox River Trail. To build a railroad yard on the banks of the river is an environmental anathema. A rail yard by its very nature is a destruction of natural area and an environmental polluter. We are concerned about pollution of the banks of the river and the waterway from diesel fuels, oils and other matter generated by a railroad yard. The further destruction of wildlife within the area is at odds with League position. The river front should be viewed as an asset to the city of Elgin, not a dumping ground for trains. While the present area south of National Street is certainly of no great beauty, or could even be considered a natural wildlife area, it has the same potential to be developed like the Fox River Trail or as a more natural environment like Voyageur’s Landing. This type of development would enhance the South Grove projects and demonstrate Elgin’s commitment to the revitalization of the central city. At a time when the city is planning the development and improvement of South Grove, building a railroad yard a quarter mile south on the Fox River is a step backward to an earlier time when the Fox River was considered a natural sewer. The city would be once again turning its back on the river. We know that the city’s thinking has progressed far beyond those early times and the city recognizes the Fox River as a natural resource that is an invaluable asset to our community. To build a new rail yard on the river fronts, thus destroying possible recreational or natural use for the enhancement of the city perpetuates the wrongs of the past. This facility is not temporary, but one that will result in the lethal destruction of the area. This area has the same potential as the much admired river fronts of Geneva and St. Charles. We will continue to oppose any development that is such an environmental disaster as a railroad yard on the river bank. Open space and the positive use of the river front as an asset to the city of Elgin is our goal. We encourage the city to continue to work with Metra to accomplish the original goal of moving the present yards out of Elgin and off the river front.

By amtrak_russ (Russell Sekeet) via Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/73784413@N00/4598395511/