Cons out weigh the pros for new truck stop

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

Dear Friends and Neighbors of Story City:

I have never written a letter to the editor, but I feel so strongly about this that I want to share my concerns. On Monday October 6, I attended the Story City Council meeting regarding the proposed truck stop on the east side of the interstate. I heard many comments about the horrible impacts that these kinds of facilities can have on a local community: drugs, human trafficking, prostitution, environmental pollution, increased light pollution, noise, low-paying jobs, garbage blowing around, increased law enforcement calls. There seems to be no end to the list of bad things. I also heard people state that it would bring in 50 jobs - only 2-3 % of those jobs would be considered at something similar to salaried positions around the $60,000 mark and likely the remainder of the jobs would be hourly positions - paid at whatever the local market bears. Increasing the local job base is a good thing, but I do wonder how hourly wages for most of these jobs offer a decent living wage? Of course there would also be property taxes that could benefit the community.

I also question the economic impact this truck stop would have on already established businesses in town? We already have fast food places, hotels, and local convenience stores that are always in need of hiring folks. What happens to those businesses when the business traffic they are accustomed to having is now divided among more businesses? What happens when the local labor supply is further spread out? Does this weaken our already existing businesses? I don’t know because no one has considered doing an economic impact analysis of this issue. Two of our local convenience stores, both Casey’s General Store and Kum & Go have corporate headquarters in Iowa and have a good track record of supporting local communities with fundraising efforts. Personally, I would prefer my dollars support Iowa businesses and not corporations located out-of-state.

The thing that disturbed me most about what I heard at the October 6 council meeting was the number of folks who thought this truck stop was a done deal and they had no voice in the manner. Whether you have followed issue in the paper or have had personal conversations with council members or city administration you should know this is not a done deal. The council has to take additional action on this issue before it is finalized. The council shared that night since they had heard no opposition to this effort, they did not think there was any concern by the folks in Story City. Please understand, I am not against the council of Story City, I admire their goals of economic development and supporting businesses downtown. Please understand, I am not against local real estate agents, lawyers, or landowners that stand to gain financially. I am, however, opposed to a truck stop near Story City.

I have lived here for 16 years. I do not even live in the city limits so you may ask of what concern is this to me. My concern is this is not a vision I have of my lovely community. The possibility of 600 to 800 trucks coming and going every day? These numbers are shared by the Loves’s personnel, not what I made up. 800 trucks exiting and entering the interstate and crossing the bridge over the interstate where local school buses travel frequently each day to and from Roland? No, I don’t have kids, but that does not mean I am not concerned. No, I don’t live near the proposed site, in fact, I live on the opposite end of town where I already experience daily grain, livestock and merchant semi-trucks delivering goods to and through Story City. The traffic past my house now is nominal to what folks traveling from east of the interstate into town will face on a daily basis. I could go on about the amount of trash generated that will blow everywhere. Why, because I can jokingly tell you that I live one “Happy Meal” from town by the amount of fast food trash I pick up from my front yard.

All around I think the cons out weigh the few pros to having a truck stop. The only power I have in this is to share my concerns with the council and to share them with you. If you are opposed to this effort you can consider signing this electronic petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/tell-a-friend/12902773#bbfb=516491732

I would also encourage you to attend the next city council meeting to listen to the proposal, to ask questions, to voice concerns, or share if you are in favor or opposed. Your city council needs to hear from you.

Angie Rieck-Hinz

Story City, IA