The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 24, 2013

State allocation would repair Joplin curbs, gutters

By Debby Woodin

— Joplin would receive $15 million to repair and replace damaged curbs and guttering under a bill approved by the state Senate.

The bill has been sent to the House for debate this week before a final decision is made by the Legislature.

The measure is the result of an effort to give Joplin a special allocation for tornado recovery in lieu of enacting a state tax increment financing district the city requested to help with tornado redevelopment projects.

Early last week, the bill designated the money for city infrastructure work and assistance with school rebuilding, but that proposal was changed before the Senate took final action on Thursday, said David Wallace, chief executive officer of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, the city’s contracted master developer.

The city approved a 3,000-acre TIF district that is expected to generate $57 million for redevelopment projects over 23 years. The city asked for a state TIF designation as well that might have generated more than $17 million, but there was not enough support to divert state revenues over a long period of time. Legislators did want to help Joplin and agreed to vote on a one-time special allocation so that the money would be available sooner.

In the local TIF district, future increases in property taxes and a portion of the sales tax revenue generated within the district will be directed to redevelopment projects.

Wallace said the final version of the Senate bill designated the money for curbs and gutters to repair damage that occurred as the result of the 2011 tornado and subsequent debris removal.

“During the tornado, sections were heaved up and damaged by falling trees and debris,” he said. “Additionally, the debris removal process caused damage and destruction to curb and gutters with the use of heavy trucks and outriggers.”

He said in an emailed statement to the Globe that the replacement cost is estimated at $20 per foot, amounting to a total of slightly more than $15 million. Wallace said more than 750,500 feet of infrastructure will need to be fixed.

The city this summer will reinstitute its street repair and resurfacing, and part of that work is planned in the tornado zone, City Manager Mark Rohr has said. Street resurfacing had been suspended because of the amount of heavy traffic working on demolition and rebuilding efforts.

David Hertzberg, public works director, said a project for resurfacing and repair estimated at a cost of $4.8 million is being prepared to put out for bids in late spring.

The streets that would receive attention and the bid specifications are still being completed, but Hertzberg said roughly 23 percent of the city’s streets would be fixed this year. That would include Joplin and Wall avenues and a portion of Main Street.

Newly annexed Silver Creek Village also would receive resurfacing of its main road, Silver Creek Drive, Hertzberg said.

Bids required

THE STREET RESURFACING PROJECT is subject to eventual bid approval by the City Council.