To the Editor: Grand Rapids should welcome Bluebird train
Written by Russ Ewing   
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 08:19
The village of Grand Rapids has always been against the Bluebird. First, Mr. Hoffman did not like the smoke related to the steam engine, now he continues to nit pick anything and everything that he can.
I take it as a personal offense when accused that the passengers and or crew members are thieves. Does he know me to put me in that stereotype? I grew up in Grand Rapids and have been active with this group because I want to preserve that part of our local history.
I personally know the mayor and at least three members of the village council. I went to school with their kids. Am I a thief? If I am I better resign as pastor of my church. Mr. Huffman, please do not put me in a group of people, when you do not even know me.
I know from personal experience that the Bluebird has had its struggles. It is true some has been brought on by the group, but we are trying. I have even spoken to him and members of council. The only person who outright hates the train is Mr. Hoffman. The truth is that most of the members of council want to work with the train. Unfortunately it is only the mayor and Mr. Hoffman who we hear complaining.
He is set in his mind that as long as he runs the village the train will never come back into town. Mr. Hoffman needs to realize that when the culvert is fixed, the train will come back into town and there is not much he can do about it.
We own our track all the way past Saylor Lane. If the train wants to run at midnight and blow its horn, there is nothing that he can do. The PUCO and the FRA are a little more powerful than Mr. Hoffman will ever be. If the Bluebird was as big as Amtrak, there would be no way that he could push them around.
There are more important things to be concerned about other than the railroad. The village is getting ready to lose its remaining school. Once they leave it will hurt the income of the village, unless some tax agreement can be settled. What about the industrial area on the west side of town? Are there any potential new companies coming in to bring in the money that will be lost when the school leaves?
What we are going to see is Mr. Hoffman waste more of the village's money by taking the railroad to court. This is not the first time that he has done this to someone who stands up to him.
Instead of criticizing the railroad, try working with us. Make sure that you know all the facts before judging. But if you can't maybe it is time to find another person to take over as administrator.
Grand Rapids is a great place to live. Now let it have the reputation of getting along with others.
Russ Ewing

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