The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

November 19, 2012

Joplin City Council debates 15th Street viaduct project

JOPLIN, Mo. — A request that the Joplin City Council authorize the city to ink agreements with the federal and state governments to accept $15 million in funding for street projects triggered a call from one councilman to back off a proposal to build a viaduct on 15th Street.

Assistant Public Works Director Jack Schaller told the council Monday night that the agreements with the Federal Highway Administration and the Missouri Department of Transportation spell out the timeline for projects the grant would cover, along with how the money is to be spent and other details.

The money was awarded to Joplin earlier this year for construction of viaducts on 15th and 20th streets to carry traffic over train tracks, and for street widening projects on sections of 26th Street, Schifferdecker Avenue and Maiden Lane.

Councilman Morris Glaze asked how much the railroads are paying toward the cost of the viaducts. Schaller said the railroads so far have offered $750,000, but there is a meeting next week with Kansas City Southern Railway Co. officials at which they will be asked to provide a larger share of the cost. Glaze asked if there is enough money from the grant to pay for both viaducts. Schaller said there is a shortfall of about $1.5 million.

The proposal is to build a four-lane bridge on 20th Street with a lane for pedestrians and bicyclists. The bridge on 15th Street is proposed as a two-lane bridge.

Councilman Bill Scearce said the council had heard from a business owner who does not want to lose his business to viaduct construction on 15th Street. Scearce said the City Council has not authorized the city staff to proceed with building a viaduct there.

Schaller said the city’s agreements with the FHA and MoDOT stipulate that the 15th Street bridge would be built only if there is enough money available, and at this time the city is short. He said the goal is to get a proposal designed and then see where the project stands. Once a design is done, the city staff will talk to property owners in the area to get their input on how it would affect them and would work changes into the plan to address their concerns.

Scearce asked whether anyone else on the council thought the design work should not progress since the council has not authorized the project.

Councilman Jack Golden said there could be positive factors for property owners in the path of the proposed viaduct.

Those owners would have to be paid for relocation or loss of business as well as for the real estate.

Councilman Gary Shaw said the design work could proceed, and then the council could decide whether to build the projects when it is asked to authorize construction contracts. “By looking into it, I don’t think we’re making a decision hard and fast,” Shaw said.

Golden asked the city attorney if the city would be committed to build the bridge if it approved the grant agreement at hand.

City Attorney Brian Head said the agreement specifies that the city can pull out of the 15th Street project if there is not enough money to pay for it.

Glaze said the 15th Street project is the result of residents’ requests to create a quiet zone through the city to eliminate the disturbance of train noise.

Schaller said the purpose of getting rid of the train crossings is to improve safety by eliminating car-train collisions on those streets.

The council vote was 5-1-1 in favor of proceeding with the federal agreement. Scearce dissented, and Golden abstained. Two of the nine-member council, Michael Seibert and Benjamin Rosenberg, were absent.

A vote on the agreement with MoDOT was approved 6-1, with Scearce dissenting.

In other business, the council authorized a tax break for Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing Inc., which has announced it will build its main manufacturing plant for Blue Buffalo products in Joplin’s Crossroads Center Business and Distribution Park.

City Planner Troy Bolander said the city would waive 100 percent of the company’s taxes for 10 years in exchange for the operation creating 131 jobs that would pay about $36,000, though he did not know the dollar amount of the tax breaks. He told the Globe that the dollar value would depend on the assessed value that is determined on the plant and its equipment after it is built.


THE JOPLIN COUNCIL asked the city staff to look into the feasibility of a request by the widow of a Joplin police officer to provide health insurance for families of officers killed in the line of duty. Tracy Nielson Gribben’s husband, Officer Tim Nielson, died in 2004 of burn injuries he suffered in the explosion of a house where he was dispatched to check on the well-being of a resident.

Text Only
Top Stories
  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Britain Easter Pilgri_Cast.jpg SLIDESHOW: Good Friday observances around the world Around the world, Christians are coming together in observance of Good Friday, which they believe was the day Jesus was crucified. Here are some photos from Good Friday commemorations around the world.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missouri House votes to expand sales tax exemptions

    Pizza parlors, doughnut shops and even convenience stores all could be in line for a tax break on the food that they make and sell as a result of a measure moving through the Missouri Legislature.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos