A construction contract to build the controversial Mohaska Trail will be considered by the City Council at its meeting Monday.

City planning to design and engineer the construction last year, and adjust the route around the KCU Joplin medical school campus, was met with opposition from some residents of the Mohaska neighborhood on and near Byers Avenue. Others, though, turned out to support the pathway. It had been part of a city plan for a system of trails for about 25 years.

Now city staff will ask the council to approve an agreement with D&E Plumbing and Heating Inc. for construction at a cost of $1,067,416.40.

The trail will start at Cunningham Park and go south toward KCU along St. John's Boulevard. It will split at 28th Street and a portion will go south along the boulevard to 32nd Street. That portion will be paid for with a $200,000 federal grant administered by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Another section of the trail will follow 28th Street to Jackson Avenue, where it will go south to Mohaska Park and then be routed northeast along what was Mohaska Avenue, go north on Pearl Avenue to 26th Street and east to Main Street. It is the section that follows what was Mohaska Avenue and skirts behind the Byers Avenue residences that prompted the opposition.

The construction cost of that section would be reimbursed by the city's federal disaster recovery funding for post-tornado projects if council approval is given to go forward. Work is to be completed by Sept. 30.

In other business, a construction project that is intended to take a last step to eliminate flooding in the area of Seventh Street and Illinois Avenue during heavy rains will be presented for council authorization.

The council bill would authorize a contract with Branco Enterprises Inc. of Neosho for $2,139,146. Work would involve widening and deepening a drainage channel in that area to increase drainage capacity and eliminate ponding that jeopardizes property in the area with flooding in periods of heavy rain.

The project is to be funded by the city's quarter-cent parks and stormwater sales tax that voters renewed in August 2011.

City staff also will seek authorization for another contract with Branco to build sidewalks in a section of the East Town neighborhood as part of a city effort to provide neighborhood improvements there.

The work would be done on School and McKee avenues and Second and Third streets at a cost of $405,722.

In other business, the council will give formal consideration of salary and benefits for the health department director, Dan Pekarek, to assume the duties of interim city manager until a new manager is hired.

If approved, his salary will be $13,175 per month and he is to receive $420 in additional retirement benefits during the months he serves along with $100 a month for car allowance. The agreement specifies that he would not receive severance as former manager Sam Anselm did because he would return to his job at the health department when a manager is in place.

Two public hearings will be held. One would seek a declaration of surplus property for city-owned lots at 1109-1111 Broadway Ave. The other would be a request to vacate a 20-foot-wide utility easement at 2119 E. Highlander Drive, requested by Todd MacDonald.

Time, place

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

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