The Iowa Department of Transportation has funding available for the planning and development of railroad infrastructure in the state, and Knoxville is going to seek a portion of that.
The City of Knoxville is submitting a grant to assist with the costs of a feasibility study for a new industrial park with railroad access. Such areas are rare in the country, according to City Manager Harold Stewart, which makes it a necessity for this to be a regional project. Support from the Marion County Board of Supervisors was sought at Tuesday’s regular board meeting. A letter of support was approved.
County Engineer Roger Schletzbaum warned that the letter should say that the County supports the concept and the study, without endorsing any specific locations.
If the study finds that it is possible to create and develop such an area in Knoxville, the city could have one of the most attractive industrial parks in the Midwest. As gas prices rise, manufacturers will likely to increase use of rail as a means of transportation for raw materials and finished products. Developers are looking for areas with rail access for these reasons.
“I think the possibility is there,” Stewart said. After the study, the City will have better data to know whether or not creating such a park is possible. The grant application is due June 17.