Tomorrow’s Council Meeting Looks Stimulating

As many of you know, every item on the City Council agenda is backed up with a packet of paperwork covering background information as well as recommendations and relevant documents.

Before every meeting, the city puts all of these packets together for City Council members and local media. They can also be found online. This week’s agenda packet was the biggest I’ve seen all year. The city could have printed up the entire phone book and it wouldn’t have taken up as much space. A lengthy agenda doesn’t always mean a lively council meeting, but it’s a decent indicator. With that much stuff in there, it’d be almost impossible to keep out at least a few interesting items.

At the city manager’s pre-council press conference Friday morning, the items that really stood out were all related to the stimulus. The millions are starting to trickle down, and City Manager Bill Watkins and his staff seem pretty eager to make sure the city gets its share. Among the stimulus-related items:

  • COLT railroad bridge across U.S. 63. MoDOT has given the city $9 million in federal money to build a railroad bridge and eliminate a dangerous intersection. Here’s the Missourian’s story.
  • Missouri State Historical Society. Watkins is asking the city for authorization to use eminent domain to buy land between Elm, Lancaster, Fifth and Sixth streets for the Historical Society because it needs to show a permanent location in order to qualify for around $40 million in stimulus money. The mere promise to use eminent domain if necessary would be enough to satisfy the feds, Watkins said. Watkins said the Society already is negotiating with landowners and that he’d only use city purchase as a last resort. Details here.
  • Lease for the farmers’ market. Similar to the historical society, the farmers’ market needs to show long-term “site control” if it is to be eligible for stimulus money. Watkins proposed a 35-50 year lease for almost 20 acres on the corner of Ash Street and Clinkscales Road, for $2,100 to $4,500 a year. Details here.
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