Ottumwans look at quiet zone for trains

Residents in Ottumwa are looking to keep passing trains silent.

Members of the community met at Wednesday evening in the city hall council chambers to discuss the possibility of making Ottumwa a quiet zone for trains. On average 45 trains per day travel through the city of bridges.

Tim Schwartz, President of Ottumwa Progress Incorporated says he TMs looked into getting approval for a designated quiet zone; however, he is aware that not everyone is all aboard with the proposal.

I think that people are concerned maybe about safety that the crossings won't be as safe as they once were and the cost, Schwartz said.

Burlington is one community designated as a quiet zone in Iowa. Schwartz says the cost for the quiet zone there cost around $380,000 and that there are many different approaches to paying for Ottumwa TMs quiet zone.

TIF (Tax Increment Financing) is the way it was financed through in Burlington. We could research some grant opportunities that would be available to help finance it. So I think there's a number of financing tools that we could use to help pay for the improvements."

Intersections at railroad crossings would have a median placed so no cars could avoid the crossing signs. Ottumwa has about seven to eight intersections that would need to be improved for safety concerns.

The type of quiet zone being looked at by Schwartz and others is a 24 hour seven days a week policy silencing train TMs horns when they pass through.

Schwartz also added that if Ottumwans want a flourishing downtown they should get behind this issue.

There TMs so much opportunity to develop that riverfront. But you TMve got to provide the opportunity or the environment for people to want to invest in that space. When you have that kind of noise level you TMre not going to get people to want to invest in housing or restaurants.

If a policy is ever approved it would take between three to five years before it becomes law.