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Train whistles and squeaky wheels

Marshalltown is a town whose economic lifeblood will forever be connected to the rails that run through it. Anyone living here, visiting here or investing here knows and accepts that truth. So I find the current conversation about rail whistle noise remediation entertaining as if it were a new phenomenon.

Some are proposing that taxpayers spend $1,000,000 (an estimate provided by the City of Marshalltown so imagine it to be twice that when implemented) to quiet the noise from trains for the purpose of improving the quality of life of all Marshalltownians. On it’s face, a noncontroversial objective.

I am pleased to learn that city finances are so strong that there is “extra” money available for this pursuit. Evidently all alleys are in order, all roads repaired, all lead paint removed, all nuisance properties dealt with, North Third Avenue gateway improvements completed, all city equipment and technologies state of the art, all city buildings ADA compliant and energy efficient and all debt retired.

But I am confused as to why, with those pesky train whistles, is there so much investment in downtown housing underway and planned for the near future. Are those investors wrong in their assessment of what makes Marshalltown great or is this really just an appeasement of a few squeaky wheels at the expense of the taxpayer?