Ohio wants Lewis Center rail crossing closed

August 25, 2017 by  

Ohio is requesting that Orange Township close the Franklin Street rail crossing in Lewis Center, citing a 2016 study that found few vehicles used the crossing, but a lot of trains came through daily.

The request comes from the Ohio Rail Development Commission, which said that in return for the closure, it would help the township develop planned trails, and offered incentives of up to $237,000 in equipment and services. The ORDC’s request was presented to the township trustees in June by Julie Kaercher, the public information officer for the commission.

Lee Bodnar, the township administrator, said the commission would like Orange Township to commit to closing the crossing, and proceed to do so, before it will help build the trails. Bodnar said it was his understanding that the commission would like the township to move forward, even in the absence of an agreement.

At least one Lewis Center resident objects. Jeri Dill says it will be almost impossible to get to work if the crossing is closed. Bodner is urging residents to attend trustees’ meetings to make their feelings known. The trustees meet the first and third Mondays of the month at the township hall in Lewis Center.

When meetings are held, organizers use agendas to keep discussions on track. Officials could work with a flyer printing company to make sure residents who attend have an agenda to help them following the arguments.