We certainly had some mixed feelings hearing the news that the money people had pulled the plug on a planned rail-to-truck transfer station that had been planned for Harborcreek.
The terminal would have been part of a complex series of projects called the Inland Port; it has the goal of transforming the local economy by tying together the region’s rail, truck and shipping assets.
With more shippers moving to containers, the idea of seamlessly moving these containers from ship to track to truck has a lot of appeal, so much so that private dollars attached to the Harborcreek site pretty quickly.
I live near the proposed terminal site and I can tell you first hand that the negative reaction from neighbors came early and often, painting the project as adding to the noise and lighting issues in the area and swamping Walbridge Road and Buffalo Road with dozens of trucks each day.
It’s an argument I’ve heard often in the past 30 years. It’s called NIMBY-Not in My Back Yard.
There is certainly enough blame to go around here. The developers saw this as such as no-brainer that I think they were honestly shocked that the din grew so loud it backed the money people off.
But by assuming that this would be an easy win those developers didn’t do their due diligence in including local township leaders and doing a better job of getting in front of the story and keeping neighbors informed.
And as someone who lives there I can also point to the neighbors who had their minds made up long before the project was fully explained.
I’m not saying they were wrong to oppose something they thought would de-value their quality of life but I do argue that potentially transformational economic projects don’t come along every day.
They owed it to the region to reserve judgment until all of the impacts were known.
Hopefully the project can be revised somewhere else but there are no guarantees.And the irony is that a plan that preached connections could die on a disconnect, in the hazy world somewhere between perception and reality.