The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 18, 2013

Joplin City Council to consider revised grant

By Debby Woodin

— Money that would have been used for the 15th Street viaduct will now go mostly toward the 20th Street viaduct, the widening of Maiden Lane, and a project to build sidewalks and trolley stops on East 20th Street.

The Joplin City Council will be asked at its meeting tonight to approve an amended agreement accepting the city’s $12 million federal grant for street and bridge projects with changes that have been made as a result of the council decision to nix the 15th Street viaduct.

Jack Schaller, the city’s assistant public works director, said $1.24 million of the grant originally had been requested for preliminary work on the 15th Street viaduct.

Since the council deleted the project in response to opposition from business owners, the Federal Highway Administration has agreed to allow Joplin to retain the full amount of the grant and direct the money to other projects.

Schaller said the city will add $508,484 to the 20th Street viaduct project. A public meeting will be held by the city from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, so that residents can view the preliminary outline of the viaduct. Those plans show the viaduct stretching from a half-block east of Indiana Avenue to slightly past New Hampshire Avenue.

That bridge over railroad tracks is intended to be four lanes with a 9-foot bicycle and pedestrian lane on each side.

The city will use $474,725 of the grant to do more work on the Maiden Lane widening project. Right of way and easements are being acquired now for that work.

Most of the remainder, $256,192, will go toward a project that was not listed in the original grant request: the installation of sidewalks and trolley stops on 20th Street from Range Line Road to Murphy Boulevard.

In other business, the council will be asked to authorize condemnation proceedings against three property owners for the widening of Schifferdecker Avenue.

City documents show that agreements could not be reached with Molandco Inc. for easements on Washington Avenue, and with DT Land Co. for easements at 3001 and 3002 Sunset Ave.

Several residents of the Sunset Ridge addition met with the city staff earlier this month and spoke at a council meeting in regard to concerns they had about properties that have been left in dangerous condition or have not been repaired since the 2011 tornado.

City staff members told the residents that some of those properties are still in limbo because agreements could not be reached on some of the land needed for the street widening.

The council also will be asked to approve engineering services of $262,900 with Garver Co. to design a new taxiway that is to be built at the Joplin Regional Airport. The project is estimated to cost $712,500. It was deemed as a necessary project by the Federal Aviation Administration, which will fund most of the expense.

Also on the agenda is an agreement with Habitat for Humanity to act as developer to build two houses with money granted by the federal government for the HOME Consortium. The consortium consists of the city, surrounding cities and Jasper County.

The consortium is to receive $143,400 for the construction of two homes for low-income buyers by 2015.

Time and place

THE CITY COUNCIL is to meet at 6 p.m. today at City Hall, 602 S. Main St. The council usually meets on Mondays, but this week’s meeting was postponed because of the Presidents Day holiday on Monday.