No more train whistles in New London
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
NEW LONDON — Trains passing through New London may be prohibited from blowing their whistle if the city decides to pursue establishing a quiet zone within the city limits.
The idea of a quiet zone was brought to the city council by a resident who wanted to know if something could be done about the disruptive train whistles that occur frequently throughout the day and night.
The council discussed it as an agenda item during their regular city council meeting on Tuesday night, but decided they needed to gather more information before moving forward.
With no train whistles to alert traffic of oncoming trains, quiet zones make use of a raised curb in the center of the road that prevents vehicles from sneaking around the gates when they are down.
“It’s specifically designed so you can’t turn around,” said Councilman Mark Hempen. “When the gate comes down, they put that there so people don’t drive around it.”
However, Councilman Dan Berner questioned whether the roads have the space to accommodate this divider and even whether the city has the permission to do it on Racine Avenue, which is a county road.
Councilman Greg Thu also brought up the issue of trucks turning into elevator on North Chestnut.
“I don’t think we could really basically destroy the elevator’s business to have a quiet zone,” said Thu. “We don’t hardly have enough business in town the way it is.”
Moving forward, the council will be looking into what is required to create quiet zone to see if it is possible for the city.
In other business, the council approved an ordinance to prohibit parking on South Walnut Street between West Garfield and West Monroe streets on Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.
This is the area from the New London Community School District’s bus turnaround to where the tennis courts used to be, and parking will be prohibited to improve safety when buses and parents are dropping off and picking up students.
Police Chief John Chaney said that for the remainder of the school year, violators will be issued a warning instead of a ticket until the public is used to the new law.
“We’ll enforce it, but we’ll just keep moving people out of there without ticketing at least for the remainder of the year,” said Chaney.
During the public forum portion of Tuesday’s meeting, Mike McBeth, former mayor, spoke in defense of both the current and past city councils and mayors in regards to recent talk and letters to the editor indicating that the city is not working to develop its land.
“I’m kind of tired of all the cheap shots that have been taken by individuals that in my opinion aren’t very well-informed because they won’t take the time to come to the meetings, to come to the small group meetings, larger council meetings, to listen and learn what they’re really trying to do,” said McBeth.
McBeth noted that both the past council and current council have had negotiations with businesses but that noting panned out.
“We’ve tried a lot of things, past as well as present,” said McBeth. “We have tried to improve this community.”
The council also heard from Judy Wiegard of Woobies, who is asking to hold another street dance on July 13.
Wiegard explained that this year’s event will not raise funds for New London’s Veteran’s Memorial as it has in the past. Instead, it will raise funds for two different programs — one that does fishing and hunting trips for disabled veterans for no cost to the veterans and another that provides guitars and lessons for disabled veterans.
The council will discuss this request at their next regular meeting on May 7.
Mike Westerbeck also addressed the council to inform them he would be bringing them some literature on burn ordinances in coming months.
Westerbeck has addressed the council in the past asking that they pass a burn ordinance, but they have not done so nor discussed the issue during a meeting.
“I’m not going to give up on it,” said Westerbeck. “Seems like you guys don’t want it, or you would have had something in place by now. You had all winter, so evidently this council does not want a no burning ordinance.”
In other business, the council:
- Approved the second reading of an ordinance to allow the city council to increase the city’s sewer rates by up to five percent annually by a resolution.
-Heard a presentation from Henry County Health Center CEO Robb Gardner and HCHC Foundation Director Michelle Rosell on HCHC’s new construction. There will be an open house/town forum on the construction project held at the New London Community Hall on April 18 at 6:30 p.m.