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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Springfield City Council Will Meet to Discuss Transferring Property to Railroad

Emmett Tullos

Springfield City Council will hold a meeting this week to discuss diverting coal trains from center city.

They’ll hear the first reading of a bill Thursday to transfer a little more than two and a half acres of property known as Nichols Junction in northwest Springfield to BNSF Railway Company.  That’s so a new connection track, known as the West Wye project, can be built for coal trains headed to City Utilities’ John Twitty Energy Center in southwest Springfield.

According to a news release from the City of Springfield, the transfer of the property is the final step in completing the project.

The West Wye project is the first of what the city’s interim economic development director, Sarah Kerner, calls “many projects” identified in a long-range plan to create a more efficient and safe rail system through the city and support the redevelopment of central Springfield.

She says the rail relocation program is expected to create a safer pedestrian and vehicular environment through the center of the city as well as improve coal delivery to the power plant and enhance economic development opportunities.  It’s also expected to allow expansion of the open-space system in the West Meadows portion of Jordan Valley Park.

According to the city, in exchange for transferring the property, Springfield will receive credit toward future land purchases or construction work from BNSF.  The exact amount of credit the city will receive in exchange for the property will be based on actual city expenditures to acquire the property and construct the West Wye facility, which city officials estimate to be about $752,000.

The $3.3 million project includes about $2.4 million in federal funds and $150,000 in state funds.

City Council will meet Thursday morning at 9:30 in Council Chambers at Historic City Hall.