DECATUR-City council has given ADM the green light to expand its rail yards. But some who live nearby are not happy about it.
People who live near Spencer Park are already used to the sound of trains and the like, but now the city has approved the area for heavy industrial use. Council members voted to re-zone 105 acres of land ADM already owns from light to heavy industry.
Some who live in the area say this new zoning could make their quality of life worse.
But the city manager says the city has beautification requirements. He says whenever heavy industry is right next to homes they have to offer sound barriers and other buffers.
"We do not want to see a decline in property values," City Manager Ryan McCrady says. "We want to see industry expand and jobs expand and we want to maintain the characters of neighborhoods also. It's a delicate balance, but we have rules in place that we hope address that."
Though it was not discussed at tonight's meeting ADM is also in talks with the park district to acquire Spencer Park, which some neighbors are petitioning against.
Park District Executive Director Bill Clevenger says over the next few weeks and possibly months they'll consider selling the park to ADM, but there are many factors that go into it like if it best serves the neighborhood or if there's the possibility to relocate. Plus, ADM would have to get that land re-zoned for heavy industry if they'd want to use it that way.
If the park district sells the park, it would have to create a new one to collect federal and state monies. The park would not have to be in the same area, but Clevenger says the district will continue discussing how to best serve the neighborhood.