Members of the Joplin City Council on Monday night directed staff members to begin preparing documentation of tax break programs for a proposed major employer.
During Monday's regular meeting, Toby Teeter, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, provided an update on "Project Hearthstone," an effort to attract a distribution center for a national retailer to the Joplin area.
The business wishes to remain anonymous at this time, City Attorney Peter Edwards said. Teeter said the business was interested in constructing a 300,000-square-foot building, hiring about 125 people and paying an average annual salary of about $51,000.
Chapter 100 bonds represent incentives for the business in the form of tax breaks for real estate, personal property and sales tax on purchase of material, Edwards said.
The council's unanimous vote directed staff members to prepare those incentives for approval at a future meeting.
In other business:
• The council approved a purchase of rights of way from property owner Vistacor Investment Group in order to extend 15th Street east of the Range Line Road intersection. The price of $524,839.50 will be repaid to the city from the 1717 Marketplace tax increment financing district.
Plans call for the area east of the intersection to be developed into a curbed road. The road, which is effectively an entryway for a Walmart store, is currently a paved lane with no curbs, gutters or traffic controls. A fully developed road is hoped to attract retail development in the area between Walmart and the businesses with frontage along Range Line.
Councilman Keenan Cortez expressed concern about the ease of driving from the parking lot of a convenience store on the southeast corner of that intersection, saying a left-hand turn to go west on 15th is difficult. Public Works Director David Hertzberg said the curbing of a new street and an entrance situated more to the east will ease that turn.
• The council approved pursuing a grant to replace a bridge on Pennsylvania Avenue between Fifth and Seventh streets. That bridge has been closed since February to vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
If secured, the grant from the Governor's Transportation Cost Share Program could provide up to $700,000 for the project. The project, which calls for replacing the bridge with an at-grade road, has an estimated cost of about $1.83 million, with demolition and construction accounting for about $1.4 million.
• A list of items for the city's annual surplus auction was approved. The auction is scheduled for Oct. 12.
The list includes laptop computers, desktop computers, monitors, office chairs, mowers, pickup trucks and bicycles. The city will post a full list of items, including pictures of certain items, before the auction.