Community expresses concern at CSX track expansion meeting

Community expresses concern at CSX track expansion meeting

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Emotions ran high Thursday at a meeting about the proposed CSX track expansion. The meeting at a Birmingham housing complex was for residents only. The fact that it was closed to "outside" public and reporters had some people upset.

"They got three armed guards and won't let me in the meeting. They said it's only for residents. Residents invited me," state representative, John Rogers, said.

Along with the Cooper Green Complex, this CSX project will effect several other communities including Mason City and Powderly. People like Cliff Witt from Mason City showed up to the meeting at Cooper Green hoping to learn more information about the project as a whole but were turned away.

"It's wrong because it's a community. One neighborhood, one community. It's all about our livelihood," Witt said.

CSX spokewoman Jane Covington says her company didn't make the decision to close the meeting.

"CSX had absolutely nothing to do with who was allowed to enter the meeting. We walked in and set up our projectors and were here at the request of Ms. Truman who is the head of the housing authority," Covington said.

Covington says the meeting was to explain to the complex residents about the part of the expansion that will run behind their development. Some of the residents who attended the meeting are skeptical about the plan which calls for a second track to be built next to an existing one.

"You can hear it 5 and 4 in the morning. You can hear it roaring. It shakes your whole apartment so to have 2 trains. I don't know. I don't think they really care," Venida Manning said.

Covington explained that the expansion plan has not gotten all the clearance it needs to begin and that means it is not definite it will happen.

Also of note, residents say police officers guard every neighborhood meeting although they say none have ever been closed to the public.

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