Murphysboro sues Union Pacific over land dispute - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Murphysboro sues Union Pacific over land dispute

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MURPHYSBORO -- After months of fighting between Murphysboro and Union Pacific Railroad over some land on North 23rd Street, the city has filed a lawsuit against the company.

North 23rd Street sits on the west side of town. Union Pacific owns the street but Murphysboro leaders contend they haven't done anything to maintain it in decades.

"I guess it's a question of what ownership means," Murphysboro mayor Will Stephens said. "If Union Pacific owns that street, they sure haven't maintained it for the last 100 years and the city of Murphysboro has."

Not only that, Stephens said the railroad wants to charge residents on North 23rd Street a fee to use the road to get to their homes or businesses.

"This causes a couple of problems," Stephens said. "One, people don't want to pay over $1,000 a year to access a city street that they've accessed for decades, and two, it makes it impossible for any of those homeowners or that business owner to sell their business because they can't get a clear title."

A spokeswoman for Union Pacific said they're now offering cost-free leases to those property owners, and the railroad is open to selling part of the property.

She also said the railroad hopes to settle the case before it gets to court.

A court review is scheduled for late October, but Stephens expects something to happen before then.

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