On Sunday afternoon, my wife Barb and I went on a walking tour of the Rompot neighborhood in SE Cedar Rapids.

Mike Ferris

We wanted to see in person what's at stake if the City Council decides to rezone the Steward Road Property (owned by the city) and then proceeds to sell it to Cargill, knowing their plans are to build a 12-track, 200-car rail yard on the site.

City of Cedar Rapids

Trust me, no one wants to wake up one day and see a rail yard going up in their backyard. But that's exactly what will happen if the City Council moves this forward at their 12 noon meeting on Tuesday December 3rd.

Mike Ferris

The walking tour was hosted by State Senator Rob Hogg, a well respected environmentalist and homeowner in the Rompot neighborhood. He pointed out multiple reasons to oppose the rezoning including protecting the Prairie Park Fishery and Prairie Pollinator Zone.

Mike Ferris

Homeowners on the tour also noted that property values are rarely improved with construction of adjacent rail yards. Studies saying otherwise seem awfully optimistic at best.

Mike Ferris

So what's at stake if Cargill doesn't get this chuck of land? Will this privately-owned multi-million dollar enterprise pull jobs out of Cedar Rapids? Who knows?

But Cedar Rapids and Cargill have a long history, and there are always two sides to every story. In a letter sent to residents in September, Cargill offered to meet with homeowners, and encourages feedback via email at Cedar_Rapids@cargill.com

What might be best is for the city to postpone the decision while alternate ideas are fleshed out, with both sides reconsidering and contributing some better options.

State Senator Hogg will be hosting two more walking tours this week.