To the editor,
As a resident of the small town of Tracy, I want to address some of the rumors and issues that have arisen with the Two Rivers Cooperative purchase of the Mott Farm, southeast of Tracy. First and foremost, I want to stress that neither I, nor the people that have signed the petition, are against the new facility. A new business to our small town is gladly welcome. However, in this situation, the safety concerns and road damage outweigh the benefits for Tracy residents. This ground falls in Mahaska County but sits less than a quarter mile from the Marion and Mahaska county line. With this location, Two Rivers Cooperative has decidedly made their travel plans for mostly all Marion county roads.
What this means is that we, as Marion County taxpayers, will be footing the bill for the increased truck, semi and trailer traffic to and from the new Two Rivers Coop site in Mahaska County by the increased tax revenues.
As you’ve read the stories previously printed in The Chronicle and heard on KNIA/KRLS, Two Rivers Cooperative will be constructing a facility that would hold in its first year 750,000 bushels and could eventually house up to 2,500,000 bushels. Yet Two Rivers General Manager Tracy Gathman has stated that he did not feel that the increase in storage would affect nor increase the transportation to and from the coop. This site will also house 30,000 gallons LP storage and storage for NH-3, otherwise known as anhydrous ammonia.
Mr. Gathman has also expressed at several of the meetings that Two Rivers Cooperative contributes significantly to the tax base of Marion County through its Pella and Otley sites. I do not dispute that and recognize that the location of this Coop could potentially benefit the Twin Cedars school district in the form of college scholarships, 4H scholarships, after-prom funds, etc. However, the fact remains that this is a brand new location and our community was not developed to handle this sort of traffic. Tracy, being a predominately unincorporated rural residential area, has a total of 3 seal-coated roads that run north and south that were designed to carry light truck and passenger vehicle traffic. The proposed Two Rivers route of traffic is directly through this same residential area. The projected route is T-25 to Bradley Street to Parker Street to Lawson Street to Pierce Drive. I reiterate that we are not against Two Rivers Cooperative’s building plans; I do however hope they – and all of Marion County - understand the problems that will arise with the increased traffic.
As discussed at the most recent board of supervisors meeting with Mr. Gathman, Marion and Mahaska County Supervisors all present, the most agreed upon and most suitable route for this increased traffic would be to build a new road along the Marion and Mahaska county line, connecting it with traffic on Osceola Drive on the outskirts of Tracy. I believe this would be most beneficial for all parties; especially if the cost was split 3 ways. As of now, Two Rivers Board as well as the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors are both still debating whether they will contribute monetarily to either the road upgrade or to the building of the new road. Please note Marion County taxpayers that whatever amount of money spent by Marion County on this road will take money from other projects! How much are YOUR roads willing to sacrifice?
As a Tracy resident and Marion County taxpayer, I urge ALL Marion County taxpayers and/or Tracy residents to speak with your Marion County Board of Supervisors as well as the board members of Two Rivers Cooperative and ask them to be cohesive in the funding and building of this new road.