Union Pacific responds to Murphysboro property lawsuit - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Union Pacific responds to Murphysboro property lawsuit

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MURPHYSBORO -- Union Pacific Railroad responds to a lawsuit filed by the city of Murphysboro.

Lawyers for the railroad say the city has no ownership rights to disputed property on North 23rd Street.

The dispute dates back several months.

In September, the railroad started asking people in that neighborhood for $84/month to use the property.

"It's a city street," Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens said. "It has been a city street for, as best we can tell, at least 60 years."

His stance hasn't changed since the city filed a lawsuit on behalf of people who live and work on that street in April.

"I wouldn't be pressing forward with it if I didn't think we had a good case," Stephens said.

Union Pacific said it has a right to charge homeowners for use of that road and in court filings, it also says the railroad has never allowed public use of the property.

A spokeswoman for the railroad says she understands how frustrating the situation is and Union Pacific hopes to settle the matter out of court.

Stephens hopes the lawsuit will end as well, but not until the city gets what it wants.  

"We're going to continue to fight it," Stephens said. "I mean, in my six years as mayor, I have not had any particular issue where the public has come up to me and supported me more than on this one."

And he said the city won't back down until people who live on North 23rd Street feel comfortable accessing their property.

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