The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 20, 2013

Maiden Lane widening to start next month

By Debby Woodin

— Construction work to widen Maiden Lane to five lanes from Ninth Street to 32nd Street will start in September.

The Joplin City Council on Monday night approved a bid for the construction work. The low bid was $3,853,913 by Apac of Missouri.

Jack Schaller, assistant public works director, told the council that the bid came in at $300,000 less than the engineer’s estimated cost. Two other bids were received, for $3.97 million and $4.26 million.

Condemnation is being sought by the city on two properties at 20th Street where owners would not agree to sell a portion of their land for the project. Schaller also said three billboards still need to be moved to make way for the widening.

The widening project is one that was tied to passage of a three-eighths-cent capital improvements sales tax by voters.

An agreement between the city and Drury University to build an Open Space Sacred Place healing garden and education display at Cunningham Park was authorized. The garden, designed by Drury, will be finished by the end of November. It is being built with a grant from the TKF Foundation. Residents were invited to tell their stories of the 2011 tornado that were recorded by Drury students and are to be incorporated into the butterfly garden and overlook.

The garden will be built in the northeast corner of the park, where the city bought some lots from homeowners who did not intend to rebuild after the tornado.

Land purchases were approved as part of the project to build a railroad overpass on 20th Street from Indiana Avenue to New Hampshire Avenue. The council approved the purchase of right of way from Candace Ellett, 1920 Wisconsin Ave., for $40,000, and Peace Lutheran Church, 2002 Wisconsin Ave., for $117,885.

Council authorization was given to file a partial action plan with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the use of part of the $113 million in Community Development Block Grant money the city is to receive for tornado recovery projects.

The plan would propose spending $8.6 million of the grant money on the design of sidewalk construction, storm sewer and curbs and gutters, and a phase of sanitary sewer repair in the tornado zone as a result of damage from the storm.

The council also:

• Adopted a resolution in support of an application by the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. for the state’s Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credit program. The tax credits are to be sold by the JRC, which is expected to obtain $5 million from the sale.

• Authorized an agreement to share rental costs with the Jasper County emergency dispatch service for a fiber-optic cable connection to link the Joplin dispatch center with the county’s. Police Chief Lane Roberts said it is the first step in consolidating the computer-aided dispatching systems of the two agencies.

• Approved realignment of council zones back to the boundaries that were in place before the tornado. Those boundaries had been moved because of population loss in the tornado zone, but the population has since stabilized, the council was told.

Federal help

WORK ON THE MAIDEN LANE PROJECT will be partly paid from a $12 million federal grant the city was awarded last year for street projects.