The staircase in Big Spring Park will be undergoing some improvements soon.

The staircase in Big Spring Park will be undergoing some improvements soon.

With a broken rail and some cracking concrete, the staircase has been deemed a safety hazard by the city.
While the staircase has been barricaded off, the public should soon be able to use the historic steps once again.

"Now that the bid's awarded we'll have to get a contract, then once the contract's approved by the city attorney it'll go back to council for approval for the mayor to sign it and then once that's done we should have a timeline for the construction project," said City Manager Troy Royer.

The Neosho City Council approved a bid of $42,815 in their April 16 council meeting, when they selected Construction Services Group of Neosho to perform the work.

The council opted to hire contractors to fix-up the staircase and put in a new rail, while they chose to forgo the additional expense of added lighting.

Royer said there are already two existing Empire District Electric Co. lights near the staircase, one at the top and one at the bottom.

Allgeier, Martin and Associates, who perform the city's engineering services, had also bid to provide their services on the staircase project, though council did not have a motion to vote on that bid, choosing to go through with the project without engineering services.

Royer said the staircase repairs were not in the city's budget for the current fiscal year, making a budget amendment necessary to fund the project.

"Unfortunately the stairs were not something we had budgeted because they were still OK or we thought so, when we did this last year's budget that we're in now," Royer said. "Since it did break, we had to close them down, now they're a safety hazard, so we're just going to have to get it in the budget and that will take away from some other things that we would have liked to have done."

Royer said some of the railing has broken off and fallen to the side, while some of the concrete is also starting to crack.

He said the old stairs will serve as the base for the contractors, who will pour over the old steps, then add new railing.

"The city just wants to continually try to improve things, try to get things fixed that need repaired," Royer said. "We'll try to do things every year as we fit it in the budget and that's one thing we're being very watchful for in the budget every year is what we can we put in there to continue to improve things around the city."

While the city council opted to go ahead with bidding contractor services, groups interested in fundraising to assist with the costs of the repairs are welcome, and can contact Royer or Director of Development Services Dana Daniel, at 451-8050.

A group of local elementary school students are already planning to do their part to help save the park's staircase.

According to a news release from South Elementary School, third graders in Chris Brown, Janet Cantrell, and Jacque Smallwood's classes will be participating in a community service project with the Neosho Daughters of the American Revolution to show support for the project.

The students will be participating in a walk/jog-a-thon on the afternoon of Friday, May 3, and will collect pledges for the number of laps they walk or jog around the playground.

Those students will then collect pledge money for the number of laps they completed, with plans for the school to present that pledge money to the city in mid-May.

Linda Blake, of the Newton County Historical Society, told council members in an earlier meeting that the steps were poured in 1923, though there had also been a wood flight of steps there before that, dating back to at least the 1880s.