After the Norco Civic Association publically raised safety concerns over a pile of crossties left on city railroad tracks — worries heightened after someone allegedly attempted to set fire to the pile earlier this year — the issue has been addressed and the track is now clear.
Canadian National Railway, which runs the track, removed the pile after what Civic Association President Stephen Weber called a “true team effort.” He thanked St. Charles Parish President Matt Jewell and his administration, Councilman Bob Fisher, U.S. Representative Garrett Graves, Rep. Greg Miller and Sen. Gary Smith Jr., as helping to spur the action on, and the St. Charles Herald-Guide for getting the word out. The debris sat near Spruce St. in Norco, by the Knights of Columbus Hall there, and Weber said the Association’s requests to have the pile removed had largely fallen on deaf ears for nearly two years.
“Garrett Graves’ office got in touch with me, Matt Jewell’s office calls me … the very next day, (Canadian National Railway) came out and picked up the pile,” Weber said. “I’m very grateful. Honestly, it’s a great example of how government should work. The citizenry took part in bringing up the problem, then your local councilmen, parish president, your local representative and state senator, all the way up to Garrett Graves … it’s something that was truly appreciated.”
“I want to thank Council Bob Fisher for working so diligently with the residents in Norco and bringing this issue to my attention,” Jewell said. “Together with Congressman Graves, Senator Gary Smith Jr. and Representative Greg Miller, we were able to work with CN Railroad to get this addressed quickly.”
Weber said in April that his concerns over the safety of the pile rose to the surface once again after learning the Norco Fire Department had been called to the scene and that investigators believe someone attempted to set fire to the crossties.
“It’s not only unsightly, but it’s unsafe,” Weber said at the time. “And this last incident, someone tried to light it on fire, I said, you know what, something has to be done because someone’s gonna get hurt … The police think kids were involved. Why they’re trying to set that on fire, that’s another question. But it should have been moved a long time ago. I’m worried you’ll have kids hanging out there and that someone’s getting hurt, eventually.”
A previous exchange between the association and the railway company resulted in the pile partially being removed in the fall of 2019, but the work was never completed – until now.
Weber said it not only is a load off his mind – and the minds of other concerned citizens – but the area now looks that much nicer, too.
“If it had caught on fire, that’s not gonna be easy to put out,” Weber said. “It was unsightly, looked really bad. We’re just so appreciative that this was taken care of.”