O’FALLON — There wasn’t much middle ground to be had at the second of two Gateway Connector public hearings Thursday in O’Fallon.

Opponents to the protection district — and any highway itself — came in organized groups and on their own.

“It’s not needed,” said Ronald Trimmer, of Mitchell, who is not directly impacted by the protection district but has friends who are. “It’s an injustice to the people living in the corridor. If they do build it, it’s going to result in more urban sprawl, more businesses move.”

But where some see unnecessary sprawl, others see very necessary progress.

“It’s absolutely needed, it’s going to benefit all the smaller roads,” said Shannon Schmidt. “I do feel bad for the people close to it.

“I’m from Southern California, so I know the importance of these corridors,” she said. Schmidt and her husband live in Belleville on the outskirts of Mascoutah, and the corridor is about half a mile from their home.

“I know it’s necessary, but I’m glad we’re not affected that much,” Bob Schmidt said.

Shannon said she would use the corridor to lessen her commute to Columbia, Kansas City and even Chicago. “I take Illinois 4 now to get to Chicago, and when it’s icy, it’s just so dangerous,” she said.

Engineers in charge of the Gateway Corridor Protection District promise they will give every comment and bit of feedback from the public due consideration. They were pleased that the public hearings gave them opportunities to clear up misunderstandings.

If you think you may be affected by the Gateway Connector Project and/or are interested in a free consultation, contact our eminent domain landowner attorneys at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at www.landownerattorneys.com.