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Christ Episcopal Church opposes City Utilities' Proposed Bus Transfer Facility

City Utilities of Springfield plans to build a new bus transfer facility on Elm Street, but Reverend Ken Chumbley of Christ Episcopal Church and his congregation oppose the construction. KSMU’s Samuel Crowe reports.

Chumbley says that besides an increase in air pollution and traffic along historic Walnut Street where the church is, his worries run deeper.

“Our concern would be that our property would be degraded and imperiled and this investment that we’ve made would be jeopardized because of this ill-conceived plan.”

The congregation recently invested 300 thousand dollars to renovate the nave, and Chumbley says he believes that vibrations from idling bus traffic would compromise the recent upgrades. He’s also concerned about the members of his congregation. “If people feel like they can’t worship in our church because of the sound of rumbling buses during our worship time – and it’s already noisy – then we’re concerned that people will look at other options for worship, and yes, that will have an impact on our congregational life.”

Joel Alexander of City Utilities says that his office is doing its best to combat the issues involving such a busy location.

“As for right now, since there are some issues with the site that it appears to have selected, we’ve gone back and we’re actually doing a couple more feasibility studies on this, one being a noise assessment and also the historic assessment of what the increased flow of traffic from the coaches would do to the historic area.”

Alexander says the Federal Transit Administration actually chose that location, not City Utilities. He says while he understands the concerns of Christ Episcopal Church and nearby residents, he notes that the issue is complex and won’t be solved easily.

“We’re going to weigh all the options. We want to be good neighbors. We want to make sure that the transit system for the future of Springfield is vital, and that it’s growing, and serves the needs of the people that need it…but you know, we’ve got to do a lot of checks and balances here to make it work.”

Alexander said the results of the feasibility study will be released in 6 to 8 weeks. For KSMU News, I'm Samuel Crowe.