“There’s no reason in our mind,” said Kristin Edwards, the Manager at Edwards Apple Orchard West. “No doubt in our mind that we didn’t want this at all.”
Edwards is happy after learning that the Federal Surface Transportation Board denied Great Lakes Basin’s application to build a rail line through the Stateline.
Edwards is the manager for the Popular Edwards Apple Orchard West in Winnebago County.
She says the rail line would’ve cut through the orchard.
“We would’ve closed down as a business, we were thinking, because who would want to come out here and hear trains going out every half hour, and the noise, and you don’t get to feel that country feeling,” said Edwards. “So, we almost feel like if it would have went through, we would have had to close our doors.”
The most recent rail line proposal would’ve provided Great Lakes Basin a route around Chicago.
The route would’ve cut through Winnebago, Ogle, and Lee Counties.
But, the Federal Surface Transportation Board rejected it-saying the company didn’t disclose how it would pay for it.
“I didn’t know a thing about trains before this happened,” said Julie Newhouse, another opponent of the proposal. “Except that they went ‘choo-choo.'”
Julie Newhouse is one of the directors of the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau.
She said it would’ve destroyed over 20,000 acres of farmland.
“It’s our livelihood,” said Newhouse. “It’s not just property, that’s what we make a living on. That was just totally going to be taken away.
So she dedicated all her time to fighting it.
And while Newhouse and Edwards are celebrating this victory… they know the fight isn’t over.
“Even if I told you I was ecstatic that we won this victory today, we need to change the eminent domain laws in Illinois so that taking farmland in particular by eminent domain would become rare and fair.”
We reached out to the great lakes basin transportation for a comment-but all they told us was that they would be assessing their options.