The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

February 11, 2014

City must proceedwith rail park plan

The Clinton City Council will take time today to decide how to proceed with the Lincolnway Industrial Rail and Air Park Urban Renewal Plan.

Some council members have questioned the dollar amount associated with developments at the rail park.

It’s good to question a price tag this significant. That’s something the new council has brought since being elected in November and we hope that attitude continues for the long haul.

What has happened since those questions arose is the total amount of the plan isn’t as clear cut as some originally proposed.

Technically, the price tag for the plan is not to exceed $53.6 million. However, that doesn’t mean the city will have to spend that much money. And if no one is interested in developing at the Rail Park, the city doesn’t have any obligation in spending money.

Grants, land sales and other factors will likely reduce that number, too.

The city must set a not-too-exceed cost high enough to factor in possible projects in the future. This number accounts for all the potential costs that could take place in the development of this important area.

And that’s just it.

The council, city officials and the public agree the rail park is important to the area’s success.

Hoping to bring in jobs won’t make the Gateway area more prosperous in the future.

This urban renewal plan is a concrete solution to showcasing Clinton and the area’s assets to potential investors.

We don’t believe in signing a blank check for economic development.

Clearly, we cannot put all of our economic plans in one area. However, when the city has success, like the two businesses, RAIL.ONE and Nevada Railroad Materials, that recently moved into the rail park, we must designate a reasonable amount of resources to facilitate a successful outcome.

The citizens of Clinton have elected this council to solve some very complex problems.

And we see this issue as something the council should work and partner with all of the resources in the community, local, state, groups (Chamber/CRDC) and industry leaders to find funding sources for economic development.

That’s something we all can stand behind.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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