Why no traffic study for Heartland?
To the editor:
As a long-term resident of Fairfield who loves this town, I’d like to express a few thoughts regarding the Heartland Co-op grain elevator.
First, I’m very concerned that no traffic impact study has been done to confirm that Heartland is a good business to have in Fairfield. Conducting a traffic impact study before any construction is allowed to continue is plain common sense. Some people propose that a feasibility study should “wait until construction is completed.” This is not only very short sighted, but seems irresponsible and dangerous, especially with a project of the magnitude of Heartland. At stake is the health and safely of everyone – including farmers and families. What if Heartland is not a feasible project? Certainly it is the responsible thing to do to find out before it is implemented.
Some years back, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors required a traffic impact study for Cambridge Investment Research Inc., which brought more than 100 jobs to the area and with far less road damage and pollution. So why not ask for an immediate feasibility study for Heartland which promises to disrupt life with tens of thousands of trucks per year?
Second, some farmers find the Heartland project appealing financially – the Heartland sales pitch is that farmers may get more money for their grain. But the real question is, how long will the “more for your grain” price really last? Once Heartland has a monopoly, does anyone really think the company will continue paying more money for grain? The more realistic scenario is that once it has a monopoly, Heartland will significantly reduce prices paid to farmers resulting in a very adverse affect on the farmers as well as the entire community.
Third, Fairfield has established great international recognition and a reputation which is priceless. The potential danger of the grain elevator with its tens of thousands of large trucks, spewing pollution through and near our wonderful town is of great concern. It will damage the quality of life for everyone – including farmers and their families, as well as the important reputation of being a “green community.”
I thank all government employees for their dedicated work to improve Jefferson County. My personal opinion (and I think I speak for many others who love the uniqueness of Fairfield) is that Heartland should locate much farther away from the Fairfield community to an area where it can be helpful rather than destroy the quality of life of a unique and extraordinary Iowa town.
– Sherry Levesque, Fairfield