BENLD, Ill. (KSDK) - If there's such a thing as a good problem, people in Benld, Ill. definitely have it. They're worried about what to do with an old piece of land, that's been given new life. As 5 on Your Side's Mike Rush explains, after years of trying to get the property cleaned up, residents are ecstatic to be moving full steam ahead.
"Maybe some more playground equipment, more park," said Benld resident Sam Cadaret. "I know there's a foundation called 'Beautify Benld,' we've been kind of thinking about talking to them."
"Yeah new playground stuff would be nice, that would be nice, the kids would really enjoy that," said Benld resident Alecia Landreth.
A lot that sits between Memorial Park and the railroad tracks in Benld has been a problem longer than most residents can remember.
"They were an eyesore they were dangerous, they were just horrible," said Benld resident Amy Withee.
"I mean it was ugly and unsightly, but it was a real safety hazard to have them sitting there," said Cadaret.
But now, instead of worrying about how to get the mess cleaned up, people are wondering about what to do with the property now that it's cleaned up.
"It's awesome that they're gone," said Benld resident Ed Saracco. "That's all we really wanted and that's why we contacted you."
Ed Saracco, who supervises Cahokia Township and lives in Benld, emailed 5 on Your Side last summer. After repeated attempts to get three abandoned railroad box cars and an old trailer removed and getting nowhere, Saracco was at his wits end.
"When I called you guys, I was to the point that I don't think it's ever going to happen, and it's a shame because as you can see, there's the ballpark down here, the kids from Headstart come here, there's a lot of children that play in the area," said Saracco.
5 on Your Side went to work, first establishing Norfolk Southern owned the property, including the abandoned box cars on it, and then getting the railroad to take action.
"They started the Monday of the big snow," said Saracco.
When workers started to dismantle the box cars in March, Saracco could hardly believe his eyes.
"I'm excited, people in town are excited," said Saracco. "I think had it not been for 5 on Your Side we would still be looking at those box cars."
"I think you got to the right person, in the right time and we're getting it done in a timely manner," said Saracco. "So I think we owe everything to you guys."
Now that the last remnants of the eyesore have been removed, so have the safety issues.
"We don't live far away and I can see the park, so it wouldn't bother me to let them come up here and play," said Cadaret.
Now the community has a new problem. What will it do with the property now that it's cleaned up?
"We would really like to see if the railroad would like to donate the land that they just cleared back to the city, and then we could maybe expand the park," said Saracco.
And that's a good problem to have.
"It's just good to see them gone, definitely good to see them gone," said Cadaret.