By Debby Woodin
A contract for construction of the Schifferdecker Aquatic Center was approved Monday night by the Joplin City Council.
The contract was awarded to R.E. Smith Construction Co. at $5,227,000, which is below the $5.8 million cost engineers estimated for the new pool in Schifferdecker Park.
A contract for designing railroad crossing bridges on 15th and 20th streets over the Kansas City Southern Railway tracks also was authorized. The public works staff recommended hiring TranSystems Corp. at a cost of up to $1.016 million to design the two projects.
The city staff proposes to build viaducts over the railroad tracks, like the one on Seventh Street, rather than train overpasses like the one built on Connecticut Avenue.
An outline of the viaduct proposals shows a bridge on 20th Street extending from Illinois Avenue over Wisconsin, Michigan and Kansas avenues, ending at New Hampshire Avenue. A bridge over the tracks on 15th Street would extend from west of Ohio Avenue.
The council also approved a contract for work on the Joplin Creek wastewater collection system at $1.5 million, and one for widening Langston Hughes-Broadway from St. Louis Avenue to Florida Avenue for $827,499.
The council authorized the use of $117,080 in state grant funds and $21,000 in donations made to the parks after the 2011 tornado for several playground projects. The work is to include building playground pads in Cunningham, Parr Hill and Garvin parks, along with installing benches and drinking fountains in the parks.
There was a discussion of the status of sewer and trash service billing during the council’s informal session.
The city’s finance department has been working toward taking over the billing, which has been done by Missouri American Water Co. The water company is stopping the practice of billing its water customers for other services and utilities.
Leslie Jones, the city’s finance director, told the council that the department is gearing up to begin billing for Joplin’s sewer and trash service in December. That also will involve taking on the billing for some nearby cities and villages that use Joplin’s sewer system. Agreements are going to have to be arranged between those entities along with the trash company before the billing switches, Jones said.
THE JOPLIN COUNCIL held a closed session Monday night on a personnel matter, which was the annual evaluation of City Clerk Barbara Hogelin, who is a council employee. The council also discussed a real estate matter but took no vote, said City Attorney Brian Head.