To the Editor: Grand Rapids urged to help Bluebird railroad

I am writing this in direct response to the article published in the 10/15/09 Sentinel Tribune. Although
the Mayor of Grand Rapids may publicly state she and the administrator does not want the Bluebird to
leave town, it is a fact that they actually want them to leave. I have numerous examples of actions that
the village and the administration have done to hinder the railroad. I clearly remember when I lived in
Grand Rapids back in the late 1990s that the mayor and Mr.Hoffman sicked State Rep. Randy Gardner on the
railroad when they were trying to fix the Third St. crossing. I also know that have been a close
relationship between Grand Rapids and Waterville in trying to get Norfolk and Southern to evict the
railroad out the part of town the train leases from them. I can go on, but the village’s past behavior
has spoken volumes.
I have personally spoken to multiple members of the council. This does not include the mayor and Mr.
Hoffman. I know most of the members of council personally. The ones that I know are all people of
integrity and I have the upmost respect for them. I had the privilege of growing up with their children.
It is true that the council as a whole do not want the train to leave town. They want to work with the
leaders of the railroad. The reason the leadership of the railroad has a defensive attitude toward the
mayor and Mr. Hoffman is because how they have been treated in the past. Why would they want to work
with someone who wants to see their demise?
The railroad has been attempting to do as much as they can. They realize that there are concerns that
need to be addressed. I have a novel idea for the mayor, try taking the high road and see if you can do
anything to help them. As mayor, you have enough influence to help them obtain grants and other funding
to get them back across the river. One would think if the village helped, it would go a long way in
fixing the other issues.
If the mayor is being truthful, then do not repeat history and work with the railroad. I remember a time
when the railroad brought tourists into the village by the hundreds when the steam engine was in
operation. The village complained back then because of the smoke of the train. It is funny when they
brought tourists in, the village sure benefited by the money that was spent in Grand Rapids. This could
happen again, if you really wanted the railroad. Maybe their would be less empty stores in downtown, if
the largest avenue of bring tourists into the village other the applebutter fest would get help and
cooperation from the village.
Russ Ewing