By a 2-1 vote and amid much discussion, Hilliard's public safety and legal affairs committee on May 23 forwarded to city council an ordinance supporting a quiet zone along the railroad crossings at Leap and Davidson roads.

By a 2-1 vote and amid much discussion, Hilliard's public safety and legal affairs committee on May 23 forwarded to city council an ordinance supporting a quiet zone along the railroad crossings at Leap and Davidson roads.

Committee chairman Jim Ashenhurst and council member Stephanie Kunze voted in favor of the quiet zone, while member Tim Roberts voted against it. The legislation goes before council on June 13, with the public allowed to comment at the June 27 city council meeting.

The legislation states that "current safety practices require the railroad to sound whistles at each crossing, disrupting the environmental peace of the community." There were some residents from the Tremont Club condominum complex present who said they supported the quiet zones.

However, other residents said they don't mind the sound.

"The sweet sound of the train whistle is relaxing and has a soothing effect on us," said Sharon Hess. "Don't deny us one of life's simple pleasures."

Hess said that while some might be bothered by the train, "Nothing forced them to buy a house close to a track and they are free to move."

"I find it ironic that a town that was named after a railroad executive would silence its trains," said Lester Hess.

The city, in consultation with CSX Transportation (the railroad) and the Federal Railroad Administration, has completed safety measures at each crossing, the legislation said. After the meeting, Roberts said those measures were detrimental to fire and emergency vehicles needing to get through the crossings.

Resident Ryan Lee asked why Hilliard would want to establish a quiet zone not long after a high school student was killed while walking on the railroad tracks. In that incident, the whistle was sounded, but the student was wearing headphones and didn't hear the train behind him.

Even in a quiet zone, trains would still be able to sound their horns if needed, committee members said.

Afterwards, at Monday night's city council meeting, council unanimously approved:

Equally dividing the coins collected from the First Responders Park fountain at the end of the year and giving them to the Norwich Township Fire Department's and Hilliard Police Department's benevolent funds.

Allowing pushcarts and pushcart vendors to operate.

An economic development agreement with Rich Products Corp. to create 25 more jobs in Hilliard.

Reimbursing Schottenstein Real Estate Group for part of the expenditures made in extending Riggins Road to Wilcox Road.

A contract for the annual sanitary sewer cleaning and closed-circuit television program.

A community reinvestment area tax abatement agreement with Tri-State Educational Systems, Inc.

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