Park Forest Board Considering Ways to Spend CN Funds

Approximately $500,000 available to assist homeowners on railway

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Over the next several weeks, the Park Forest Village Board will be discussing various ways to distribute approximately $500,000 to residences directly along portions of the old EJ&E rail line. The funds are available as a portion of a settlement agreement reached with the Canadian National (CN) railway system several weeks ago.

When CN purchased the EJ&E system, the Village of Park Forest and a number of other municipalities protested to federal authorities that the purchase would mean increased rail traffic through their communities. Although the federal government nonetheless approved the sale, CN entered into negotiations with a number of municipalities to provide some funding to offset the effects of the increased traffic.

"Our staff did a very good job of negotiating with CN and we are receiving significant funds for a number of improvements that will offset the effects of the increased train traffic through our town," said Mayor John A. Ostenburg. "A part of the settlement agreement allows for some funds to go directly to homeowners in some areas along the rail line so they can mitigate the noise and other effects."

Mayor Ostenburg said the Village Board has asked the staff to provide some options on the best ways to distribute the $500,000. The Board then will make a decision on which proposal would be most effective and set some timelines for when the funds will be distributed.

"Most likely, we will require residents to show us some proof that they have made improvements and then we will provide some reimbursement," Mayor Ostenburg said. "However, we will be deciding that method for certain in discussions we will have over the next several months."