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Kilgore OKs proposal looking at downtown quiet zone

By Reese Gordon rgordon@news-journal.com
March 25, 2014 at 11 p.m.


KILGORE - City Council members Tuesday approved a proposal that could silence the deafening train whistles that blare through town on a daily basis.

The motion passed 4-1 with Mayor Pro Tem Harvey McClendon the only council member in opposition.

City Manager Scott Sellers said CTC, a contractor in Fort Worth, contacted him after the council discussed the possibility of a quiet zone at its March 11 meeting.

"CTC specializes in quiet zones," Sellers said. "They would be able to provide cost estimates for five crossings at a cost which is not to exceed $15,000."

Sellers said the money will come from the city's general fund.

McClendon said he opposed the proposal because of the cost.

"The downtown entertainment district is in its infancy right now, and I'm concerned that we would spend money on engineering costs and not go through with the construction because it would be too high," he said. "And then we would have to come back at a later date and start the process all over again."

Councilman Bobby Hale said he also is concerned with the cost of quiet zone construction but did not oppose the motion.

The study, Sellers said, should happen sooner rather than later.

"We will at least know what we will be looking at for the 2015 billing cycle as far as cost of construction," he said.

Kilgore Mayor R.E. Spradlin III said resident complaints about train noise are commonplace.

"Thirty-two to 38 trains go through Kilgore every day," he said. "Sometimes more. Every time I am downtown for an event, people ask me why we can't make the trains stop blowing their horns."

Spradlin said the improvements to railroad crossings would enhance the safety of people crossing the tracks.

The presence of a downtown quiet zone would help bring more people to Kilgore, said Councilwoman Sherry Bustin.

"It would support our vision," she said.

Also Tuesday, the council approved using $400,000 from the city's Perpetual Care Fund for improvements to Kilgore Cemetery, Kilgore Memorial Cemetery and Danville Cemetery.

Seth Sorensen, director of public works, said all three of the city's cemeteries need upgrades, and he would like to see a new fence and gate at Kilgore Memorial Cemetery.

"We would like to move forward with a sprinkler system, spray the trees, do some planting and make the cemeteries look nice," he said.

"The chain link fence at Kilgore Memorial needs to be replaced with something more inviting. We received an estimate for a new fence and gate for $18,000."

Spradlin said the city plans to address all of the cemetery infrastructure issues in the coming years."

"No one would argue that (the cemeteries) are not in need of some tender loving care, and we are going to take care of them whether we take from the Perpetual Care Fund or not," he said.

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