Linden Council looks at possibilities and progress

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

The City of Linden is full of possibilities for growth. The question is, how can these possibilities become a reality. Pat H. Dixon, who volunteers as a consultant with the Industrial Development Board, addressed members of the Linden City Council Monday night to look into ways of capitalizing on some of the city’s assets. Dixon said a team effort was the first step.

“I think that it is up to us as leaders and officials to look at our assets and pool our efforts together,” Dixon said. “I feel like that will put us into a position where we will start to see great things happen in our area.”

Dixon said there was an area set aside just waiting for new industry to come in.

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“We are in a real good position here in the city to evaluate the Industrial Park,” Dixon said. “We have 275 acres there and have electricity, water, gas and two railroad tracks which is unheard of. Typically people are thrilled to have one. That in itself needs to be pushed.”

One of the keys to adding new industry to a city is the capability of the airport to host larger planes. Dixon said recent grants had also made airport expansion and improvement possible.

“We just had something recently that has also been huge,” Dixon said. “The awarding of $1 million for the airport for upgrades. When you are going after industry, there are a lot of things you evaluate and the airport is among them.”

Dixon said she and the rest of the board would continue to look at possibilities and the best possible use of their resources.

The council was also addressed by an ongoing problem. Trains continue to block major roads, which divide the city. This also blocks emergency vehicles from getting to the south end of the city.

Council member Alvin King said he has seen the problem continue despite the train company saying they would no longer block the road.

“It seems like in the past three or four or five weeks this problem has continued to get worse,” King said. “Yesterday I noticed the train in front of Shiloh Street for 18 minutes and it took 38 minutes for it to get off of Highway 43. That is uncalled for.”

Linden Police Chief Jeff Laduron said he has discussed the problem with the company and they would continue to work toward eliminating their roadblocks. However, sometimes a short blockage may be unavoidable

“I talked to them again today and they are aware of the problem,” Laduron said. “He said Monday night is going to be the worst because they are meeting another train with about 60 to 80 cars.”

Laduron added that blockages may be a problem, but they did have contact numbers for the engineer. In case of an emergency the number will make it possible for them to contact the train operator and move the train so emergency vehicles can go through.

“He faxed me his link numbers and now we have that for the engineer on the train so we can beep them instead of having to look for them,” Laduron said. “He assured me they were working on the problem and they have some new people and were trying to get their routine down.”

On a positive note, Linden Mayor Pat Vice is continuing to make progress. City Administrator Cheryl Hall said she stays in close contact with Vice and he is eager to get back to work.

“He is doing fine,” Hall said. “I talk to him pretty regularly. I know he really wants to get back up here because he has been gone so long, but he needs to stay home and get well.”

The council will hold their next meeting on Tuesday Feb. 15 at 6 p.m.