The Dublin City Council continued to discuss the possible closing of the Sheridan Street railroad crossing Monday. The crossing runs through the five-track rail yard of Fort Worth and Western Railroad.
"There are some things that are advantageous to the city and advantageous to the railroad," City Manager Jerry Guillory said.
While the question remains on who has control of the crossing, the city is being forced to take action on the issue.
FWWR presented two options to the city last month: close the Sheridan Street crossing or maintain it as a controlled crossing. If the city takes responsibility for maintaining the crossing, it could incur a $200,000 cost to hire a licensed crossing repair company to align with TxDOT and federal standards.
If the city closes the crossing, FWWR will build a fence around the rail yard and a pedestrian crossing on Blackjack Street, while continuing to use the rail yard.
Zac Schmidt with FWWR said the city needs addendums to two licenses or a new license to run sewer lines through other areas of railroad property across town.
"We'll hand you (the licenses) if you close the crossing," Schmidt said.
In the wake of difficult budget struggles for the city, the situation was described as "nothing more than professional blackmail" by Councilman Tommy Sperry.
"It all boils down to money - and the railroad knows the city's financial situation," Sperry said.
Other council members agreed that they didn't want to close the crossing, but believed it had to be done.
"I am not in favor of closing the crossing, but considering the advantages, it's what needs to be done," Kenneth Lundsford said.
Councilman Calvin Ratliff said he grew up in that neighborhood, and had even played on and around the rail cars - a big concern for FWWR and Police Chief Lannie Lee, who cite safety as the main reason for the closing.
"I am not opposed to closing it," Ratliff said.
No action could be taken during Monday's work session, although the general consensus appeared to be that the council will vote to close the crossing.
Sperry voiced his frustration, saying the citizens elected the council to serve their best interest.
"From what I can see, there ain't no one up here working for them," Sperry said.