WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - The Wichita County Action Committee (WeCAN) met for the second time in a week to discuss what some call a dangerous railroad crossing on 7th street in Wichita Falls. Members of the non-profit say it is not just a safety problem but an economic problem as well.
The Executive Director of the East Branch YMCA - grew up on the east side of Wichita Falls. He said the 7th street train crossing has been a safety hazard for decades, "All of the stories that we hear, things that people are saying - I know that these are true because I was a part of that myself."
The trains are known to stop for hours forcing people to have to jump between the cars if they want to get through.
Wichita County Action Network's held its first town hall meeting over the weekend.
BNSF – the railroad company in charge of the crossing on 7th street – was at the town hall. They said they plan to add concrete planks to make it smoother for cars to pass over. When it comes to people safely getting across the tracks, BNSF says that it is the city's responsibility.
WeCAN is hoping to gather enough community support to get the attention of city officials. Co-founder of the non-profit Tom Wisdom said, "We need signature on our petition, we need people that are willing to talk to other people in their communities, their church communities, their social communities…that is going to be our job as I mentioned we're hoping to be the catalyst that keeps the wheels rolling and keeps it moving in the direction it needs to go."
They hope to also work with Downtown organizers because they feel the crossing is not just a safety hazard, but a barrier that separates one part of the city from the rest.
They believe that building relationships will help their cause in the long run. Harris said, "We're just trying, through WeCAN to help make a difference in our city by working on a project that is well overdo. That can help to save lives, can help to change cultures, and it can also help, I believe…could have community development to come out of it as well."
On the 22nd of June, WeCAN members are going to meeting with BNSF in Fort Worth to discuss the changes to the railroad they hope to see next summer.