The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 31, 2013

Newton County intersection improvement in final phase

By Roger McKinney

NEOSHO, Mo. — The Newton County commissioners on Wednesday hailed a road improvement project that is wrapping up west of Neosho as a good example of a public-private partnership.

The project on Oak Road, at Ibex Road, included asphalt surfacing and concrete pavement near the entrance to Missouri Walnut LLC.

The lumber company paid $158,000 of the total cost of $200,000, for which it will receive tax credits. Newton County paid the remaining $42,000 of the project cost.

The location is west of Neosho and south of U.S. Highway 60.

Marilyn Ruestman, presiding county commissioner, said a plan for the project has been in the works since she took office in 2011. Construction began last September. She said truck traffic is heavy in the area.

“It’s been a really, really nice project for us,” she said.

Trish Crane, human resources manager for Missouri Walnut, said the project benefits everyone in the area.

“We really wanted to do this improvement for our neighbors and for our employees, who have had to deal with the deterioration of the road,” Crane said.

She said the company wanted to team up with the county to improve the infrastructure near the plant.

Ruth Braunschweig, a co-owner of Braunschweig Meat Processing, just west of the lumber company, said she’s grateful to the company and the county.

“Customers are really commenting about it and saying how much better it is,” she said. “It’s great.”

Darren Hargrave, who lives east of the lumber company, said he also approved of the work. He said truck traffic, instead of going past his house, now goes west, taking Ibex Road to Highway 60.

“The improvements are nice,” he said. “It’s a lot better than it was.”

Remaining chores

CENTERLINE STRIPING and a few other details are yet to be done on the project, said Marilyn Ruestman, presiding Newton County commissioner.