Cedar Rapids City Council passes second reading of proposed Cargill rail yard

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA (KCRG) -- A new Cargill rail yard is one vote away from becoming a reality after a second city council vote in favor of it Tuesday.

Cargill is looking to build a rail yard on this property in the Prairie Park neighborhood in southeast Cedar Rapids. Photo: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 (Mary Green/KCRG)

The company hopes to build the rail yard a few miles from its corn processing plant on a 17-acre plot next to Prairie Park Fishery. The project requires city council approval to re-zone that plot. The 12-track yard would fit up to 200 freight cars.

People living near the proposed rail yard say it would bring a lot of noise and pollution to the area, something Cargill said it would address.

"I'm deeply disappointed in all of you for going down this road on Item 35 and approving this ordinance. I don't believe any of you have actually reviewed the facts," Steven Smith, who lives in the area of the proposed rail yard, said.

Others in Cedar Rapids think it would maintain what they call "good jobs" in the area.

"This issue is about jobs, really good jobs, blue collar jobs, if you want to use that term, teamster jobs, they're coveted, every community covets these jobs and organized labor does too," Ron Corbett, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance business retention and expansion strategist, said.

The city council will have its third and final vote on this issue later this month.