Two people spoke to the Joplin City Council on Monday night about issues they would like the city government to address.
Elizabeth Clement, a Neosho resident who works in Joplin, asked the city to operate more surveillance in parking lots because of the number of cars stolen. She said her car was stolen from the parking lot at Northpark Mall and used in robberies. She said she eventually was able to recover her vehicle after someone who saw one of her social media posts about it spotted the car parked in a parking lot.
Clement said she learned that up to 100 cars a day are stolen in Joplin, and she asked that more measures be taken to provide surveillance or to track stolen cars.
Mary Breedlove, who lives in the 1500 block of South Pennsylvania Avenue, asked that high fines be imposed on property owners in her neighborhood who collect scrap and store it in their yards. She said the property owners have been cited a number of times by the city’s neighborhood improvement officers, but they have cleaned up some of the junk only temporarily before moving more back to their yards and on their porches.
Sam Anselm, acting city manager, told the two that he would ask the city staff to look into the matters.
A number of students were at the meeting to observe the proceedings.
Three pupils, Ashley Cross, 12, and Trey Stanley, 11, both of Columbia Elementary, and Jaxson Smith, 11, of Stapleton Elementary, were recognized for their winning artwork to illustrate the importance of having a home in the annual observance of Fair Housing Month.
Additionally, members of Boy Scout Troop 77 from College Heights Christian School attended as part of their work to obtain their civics badges. They also led the Pledge of Allegiance.
They watched as the City Council authorized an allocation from the $45 million the city received in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds for home repairs in the tornado zone.
Patricia Heagel, a city grant manager, told the council that the money would be given to three agencies to do repairs on up to 30 houses damaged in the 2011 tornado. The homeowners have had no other resources, such as insurance, to pay for the work.
Grants of $250,000 each will go to Catholic Charities and Rebuild Joplin, and $275,000 will go to the Economic Security Corp. to administer the Joplin Homeowner Rehabilitation Program.
“We believe this is a program that will assist in the rebuilding of the tornado area” by providing up to $25,000 per house for repairs, Heagel said. She said that if more homeowners are found to be in need, there will be a proposal for another round of funding.
The council also approved a number of agreements for work within the tornado zone.
Those include $292,000 to TranSystems Corp. to assess and map repairs to streets, sidewalks and curbs within a portion of the tornado zone.
A consultant agreement with Bartlett & West Inc. in the amount of $608,260 for storm sewer damage assessment was struck from the agenda at the request of Nick Heatherly in the Public Works Department.
Ordinances for design services for storm sewer and drainage system repairs in various parts of the city were approved for Anderson Engineering Inc. at $162,850, and Allgeier, Martin & Associates Inc. at $160,000.
The council approved two measures to seek reimbursement from the Federal Highway Administration for city costs to repair and replace traffic signs and signals in the tornado zone. City costs for the work total $1,193,318; federal reimbursement would total $954,654.
Councilman Morris Glaze asked the public works director when construction work would begin on the railroad overpass to be built on 20th Street.
Heatherly said some final property easement acquisitions are being done, including one condemnation. Resolution of those would move the project forward toward construction, he said.
VACATION OF A STORMWATER EASEMENT was approved for Samuel Carpenter, the homeowner at 1202 Bramar Drive, to build a workshop. The council also approved vacation of a railroad spur at 2502 Enterprise Ave.