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Talking points... from the Mayor

By Peter Korman

Mayor of Eden Valley

Finally, after a year of e-mails and communiqués between Bolten & Menk (our engineers), MnDOT, Canadian Pacific Railroad, and the city, the railroad has decided that the railroad crossing at Highway 22 does need reconstruction. They have said that the crossing lights and arms are antiquated and will be replaced. The concrete padding system that lines the tracks will be completely removed and reinstalled. The cost for the concrete padding replacement is about $1,000 per foot. There are three tracks and they measure about 70-feet each. That is about $210,000 for that portion of the project.

One idea the railroad brought up is to consider removing the north track and dead-end it at each side of the street. This would eliminate 70-feet of track and $70,000. That option is completely up to CP Rail.

There is a possibility of narrowing the street up to Railroad Avenue. That is the street at the lumber yard and the Valley inn, and then the signal would be taken out of the middle of the sidewalk and moved closer to the main track. That signal would also have a standard-length arm. This is the arm they always have trouble with because of its length. New crossing signals are about $200,000.

This entire main street reconstruction is a MnDOT project since it is a state highway. The city is doing all the underground utilities at this time and adding some smaller parts to the project.

It will be up to MnDOT as to who pays for this crossing reconstruction: is it CP Rail, MnDOT, or are they going to make the city pay for a portion of it. Our engineers also are considering the design idea of grading the street out to the north and south so there isn't such a high point at the main track. This would help prevent wear and tear in the long run, and make the crossing much smoother. We had an on-site meeting a few weeks ago. I think the added noise of farm equipment and semi trucks passing by during that meeting helped to make our point that the crossing needs work.

This is a good sign of progress and, I hope it continues to move forward. Stay tuned! It is a major process of negotiating.

In light of the recent train fatality, and a near-miss at that foot path south of the school a while back, Police Chief Junker has contacted CP Rail about some educational opportunities that we could present to the elementary school, the high school, and the community. I will be involved in this as I have been a rail fan for many years. Railroad deaths can be prevented! There is a sure thing if you come in contact with a moving train ... You will lose! It is time we try to instill this thought in our children, teenagers and adults.

It is nice to see the streets and parking lot repaved around the school project. The house right behind the event center has been purchased by the school and was torn down to make more parking available. It is definitely an improvement to the area.

In more recent developments ... We have two newspapers that will be competing for your subscriptions for the next few years. Since the demise of the Journal Patriot, we have been covered by the

Tri-County News. Now the

Paynesville Press has decided to start a paper here. Both papers will open offices here in the near future. Both owners will speak at our next Healthy Communities meeting, the next council meeting, and at the next chamber meeting Wednesday, Sept. 26. If you have questions for the owners, you can come to the next council meeting, or if there is a need for a presentation to the general public, please call city hall and we can set something up.

For now, these are my talking points...