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Where the Rails Cross the River
Chillicothe got a taste of the damage Mother Nature can unleash in the early morning hours of Tuesday, September 9. Heavy rains and high winds seemed to be concentrated in one section of town with only scattered damage in other areas. It was surprising that given the tree damage, there wasn’t more damage to homes. We’ve heard no reports of roofs blown off or garages flattened. For those who sustained damage to property, it can be costly and disruptive. But we know it could have been much worse.
Chillicothe Public Works crews were out early to clear roadways. Fire department personnel did a city-wide survey to assess and report damage, including downed wires and gas leaks. Extra police officers were called in to help with potentially dangerous situations, particularly given the power outages in some areas (including city hall). Public Works continued to pick up trees and branches downed by the storm, as long as residents put the debris along the curb. Overall, city staff did a commendable job in the storm’s immediate aftermath.
The storm also highlighted the continuing problem with water runoff at the intersection of Elm and Hushaw, Bradley Avenue and Truitt. Public Works Committee of the Council has met with the city engineer to explore ways to fix the slow drainage in these areas. In the past, we’d taken steps we had thought might fix the drainage problem. Obviously, more needs to be done and I want to assure residents – especially in those areas – this is a priority for the City.
Also last week, anyone near City Park and the Rock Island depot on Third Street Saturday knows what an exciting time it was. The Iowa Interstate Railroad provided eight 1950s-vintage passenger cars and two diesel locomotives to take riders round trip Chillicothe to Henry. The cars were full, kids were wide-eyed and adults seemed to enjoy the throwback rail experience. At different times, there were easily more than 1,200 people in the park. Lots of young families and many grandparents giving little ones their first train experience. Our thanks to Iowa Interstate Railroad owner Henry Posner and his crew of volunteers who created a great experience for the 2,400 riders. We hope we can do it again in a few years.