By Roger McKinney
NEOSHO, Mo. —
Officials of the Neosho Transportation Development District on Thursday presented their plans for transportation projects to about 60 people in a public informational meeting at Neosho Middle School.
Ray Stipp, TDD board chairman, said the panel was encouraged to hold the public meeting after it received aerial-view maps of the projects.
“We were so enthused when we saw these, we just had to share them with the public,” Stipp said. “We’re so excited about the possibilities.”
The projects are along U.S. Highway 60, which now is home to a Wal-Mart, a Lowe’s and other retail businesses.
The projects are:
• A traffic light and other work at U.S. Highway 60 and Kodiak Drive. Work has started on that project.
• A traffic light and other work at U.S. Highway 60 and Adams Drive.
• Projects at South Outer Road and Industrial Drive.
• Projects at North Outer Road and Lusk Drive.
• Work at U.S. Highway 60 and Laramie Lane.
• Widening and left-turn lanes at the intersection of Hale McGinty Drive and Waldo Hatler Drive.
• Expanded parking and improved traffic flow at Neosho Middle School.
Tim Crawley, Neosho School District operations director, said the district would pay for the work at the school, at a cost of between $400,000 and $500,000, depending on the amount of parking.
The nearly $7 million worth of TDD projects would include $4.5 million from the TDD and $2.4 million from the Missouri Department of Transportation. A half-cent sales tax is being collected by businesses within the transportation district to help pay for the projects. The sales tax would expire and the TDD would dissolve in 20 years or sooner, when the debt for the projects is paid.
Stipp said the objectives of the projects are safety, relieving traffic congestion and retail development.
He said the intersections being targeted are prime for development.
“There are excellent opportunities for retail growth at those intersections,” he said.
Stipp said the state is involved because the outer roads help keep local traffic and through traffic separate.
“With MoDOT’s contribution, we’re able to do so much more,” he said.
He pointed out the reason why the outer roads curve outward from Highway 60. “It’s a blank space that can be developed by developers,” he said.
Resident Howard Birdsong said economic development is a byproduct of infrastructure development.
“Developers don’t want to wait a year or a year and a half while we build infrastructure,” he said.
Stipp said other than the Kodiak Road project, the other projects are on hold while the Neosho City Council determines if it will appeal the November circuit court ruling that allowed the TDD to continue. The city had filed a legal challenge to its formation. The City Council may decide on Tuesday on filing an appeal.
“We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting, and the courts have spoken,” said resident Betty Cagle.
DAN SALISBURY, Missouri Department of Transportation assistant district engineer, said the projects would be completed in one construction season.