The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 1, 2012

Joplin City Council to hear Empire request for substation

By Debby Woodin
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — Another public hearing on a permit for a disputed electric substation next to the Hidden Hills subdivision is set for tonight’s meeting of the Joplin City Council.

Empire District Electric Co. has sought a special-use permit to build a substation at the end of Highlander Drive, but the request hit a roadblock Aug. 13 when opposition surfaced before the Joplin Planning and Zoning Commission. That caused the commission to recommend that the council deny the permit.

The council tabled the request last month because Empire planned to revise the substation plan and present it to residents at an open house Sept. 13.

Several residents said they were still left with concerns and questions about the substation’s effect on property values, noise and health, as well as the removal of trees from the wooded location.

Several construction and design contracts are posed for council consideration.

A contract for construction of the Schifferdecker Aquatic Center will be proposed for council approval. The low bidder is R.E. Smith Construction Co. at $5,227,000, which is below the $5.8 million cost engineers estimated for the new pool.

The project’s engineering firm, Water’s Edge Aquatic Design of Lenexa, Kan., recommends the Smith company for the work because of its experience and references. The company constructed renovations of Joplin’s Cunningham and Ewert pools, as well as Walton Aquatic Park at Nevada, the Pittsburg (Kan.) Aquatic Center and the Lamar Aquatic Park.

Four bids were submitted, including Smith’s, and they were close. The others ranged from $5,242,100 to $5,398,200.

A contract for designing railroad crossing bridges on 15th and 20th streets over the Kansas City Southern Railway tracks will be proposed. The public works staff will recommend 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, such as 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.

Public Works Director David Hertzberg said earlier that viaducts needed to be built because the grade of the terrain and the curve of the tracks would not accommodate overpasses.

A contract for work on the Joplin Creek wastewater collection system is proposed at slightly more than $1.5 million.

Work to widen Langston Hughes-Broadway from St. Louis Avenue to Florida Avenue will be done if the council approves a contract for $827,499 with Snyder Construction Inc. for the project.

Parks Director Chris Cotten will ask the council to allow 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. He proposes building playground pads in Cunningham, Parr Hill and Garvin Park, along with installing benches and drinking fountains in the parks. There is $40,300 available in the donation fund designed for the park recovery projects, according to Cotten.

When, where

The City Council meets at 6 p.m. on the fifth floor of City Hall, 602 S. Main St.