The city will soon have a finalized study in hand to assist them in moving forward with developing green infrastructure in Neosho.

The city will soon have a finalized study in hand to assist them in moving forward with developing green infrastructure in Neosho.

Neosho City officials learned more about their recent green infrastructure study Wednesday morning in a public meeting at the Crowder College MARET Center.

The city was one of 17 communities nationwide to receive a $30,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency last summer, to fund the green infrastructure study.

The study is nearly finished now, and on Wednesday, Neil Weinstein, of Low Impact Development Center, Inc., who created the report, spoke with city officials and local environmental leaders about the direction the city could go moving forward.

While the primary focus of the study included suggestions for the city in complying with Missouri's stormwater regulations, he also presented sketch drawings of some potential green spaces in the City of Neosho that could aid the city in meeting those requirements.

While the green areas are suggested to help cut down on storm water runoff, by giving the water a place to go, Weinstein said the green spaces can also offer opportunities for city residents.

"I think people do value a lot of this because it helps really create a nice community," Weinstein said.
Weinstein pointed to the vacant lot next door to the Neosho Civic, where the Baptist Church was once located, as a potential pilot project for the city.

The drawing showed green space combined with some concrete areas, featuring park benches, a pavilion, trees, flowers, and a "Neosho" sign.

"That is, to me, very inspirational, it gets you excited about what the potential is," said Community Conservation Planner Ronda Headland, of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Troy Royer, Neosho's city manager, said the drawing was just the kind of project Neosho officials have had in mind.

"I loved it," Royer said. "That's kind of what we've been looking at since we demo'd that church property is first getting that grass established so it is a green area. It works in with our MS4(state regulations) because of stormwater management, it's having a place for that water to go."

In fact, the city had gone so far as to apply last year for a grant to aid in creating the green space downtown, however, that grant application was denied.

While it may not have made a difference for that specific grant, Royer said having a plan in hand will be helpful in pursuing future projects and funding options.

"With a lot of grant opportunities you've got to have a plan, that's where it all starts," Royer said. "A lot of them you can't apply for unless you have a plan in place. That's pretty much a standard for any grant. They all want some kind of plan to see where you're going with this."

Dana Daniel, the city's director of development services, said in an earlier interview that the EPA outlined four goals to be fulfilled with the grant: that the city's storm water codes be reviewed, that the city be given recommended areas in the community that could be developed as green infrastructure sites, that the city be provided a set of standard specifications for green infrastructure, and that a presentation be made to the city once the study is completed.

The EPA provided $950,000 nationally to assist in the green infrastructure studies, with a goal of decreasing storm water runoff's pollution of local waters.