BNSF project plans in Gunter

BNSF Railway is planning to build a logistic center in Gunter, Texas that will take up hundreds of acres of land.
Published: Jun. 28, 2023 at 10:33 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2023 at 10:21 PM CDT
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Gunter, Texas (KXII) - BNSF Railway is planning to build a logistic center in Gunter, Texas that will take up hundreds of acres of land.

BNSF are always looking for new opportunities to improve and expand their business and add value to the surrounding community.

“It is a logistics center, which is essentially there to rail, serve customers who are doing light manufacturing.” Jeanelle Davis, BNSF’s executive director of public affairs said.

It’s partnering with small cities like Gunter to give it’s customers the most accessible and speedy service possible while benefiting the community.

“It will bring jobs to this area, it’ll bring economic growth, things like that,” Davis said. “And typically, when a big company like ours comes in to an area like this, it allows more businesses to be attracted here, which is always. Good for the city and provides tax benefits as well.”

Just about five minutes from Gunter City Hall, the location was picked based on the accessibility to the mainline. Davis claims this mode of transportation is the most safe and environmental friendly.

“We can move almost 500 miles, one ton, 500 miles on a single tank of diesel fuel” she said.

Tuesday evening, BNSF hosted community meeting to provide information about its proposed logistic center and get community feedback.

“We want them to reach out to us, so we want them to ask us questions, so that we can dispel myths or anything that may be untrue about the project, but also help provide clarity and greater information about a project like this one,” Davis said.

If this new plan is approved, the railroad tracks that run through Gunter could possibly deliver a change that not all residents like. They say it will change their agricultural and residential community to one that’s more industrial.

Angie Rich and her family have been living in Gunter for 23 years.

“We came out here because it was a nice, quiet community with lots of farmland, open space, very quiet community, no industry,” Rich said. “And we enjoy the calmness and the small town atmosphere.”

“I feel like I’ve been hit by literally a train.” Rich said. She claims that Tuesday’s meeting was the community’s first invitation to hear about the plans and before this meeting, there was a lack of community involvement in the project.

“There were no mailings. There were no postings on the website. There were no informative sessions,” Rich explained.

Her biggest concern is the around-the-clock operation of the logistics center.

“There’ll be the noise level, [and] pollution sound,” Rich said. “It just goes on and on and nobody’s being respectful to the people who already are residing there for a very long time.”

Rich said she’s planning to contact state and local officials to voice her opinion and encourages others to do the same.

“Reach out to the Attorney General. That’s what I’ll be doing.”

She wants people to get on social media and send over their protests. She claims that the city of Gunter doesn’t think their residents care about these developments, but wants to ensure that the city knows that they do.

Jeff Gibson, Interim City Manager and Chief of Police, says, “we are looking forward to continued collaboration with BNSF Railway as they plan to develop a logistics center in Gunter. We understand that this is a meaningful location on the transportation system, which will help Texas companies have greater access to the markets they serve. This partnership will also bring tax revenue and employment opportunities for Gunter. While we are aware there may be a few residents who have voiced concerns about this upcoming opportunity, both the City of Gunter and BNSF are committed to ensuring the proper oversight of this facility, and we are pleased to see that BNSF has and will continue to be engaged with the community throughout the process of making this logistics center a reality.”