The City of Neosho is moving forward on wrapping up four past grant-funded projects.

City staff held a public meeting Wednesday evening to offer the public the chance to share their input on the four projects before they are closed.

Only three Neosho residents attended the meeting, though Dana Daniel, the city's director of development services, said the public meeting was required to close up the projects.

Each of the four projects was funded by Community Development Block Grants.

The four projects up for discussion Wednesday included the extension of Howard Bush Drive, the 2009 improvements to sidewalks, lighting and parking near the intersection of Spring Street and College Street, the removal of blighted properties on East Spring Street, and a downtown landscape project that was canceled in the design phase.

"Anytime a grant is obtained and those funds are used, typically the state is going to require a public meeting for input from the community," Daniel said.

He said the focus is currently on wrapping up the 2007 grant, which funded the demolition of properties on East Spring Street.

That demolition, which wrapped up in 2012, included the removal of the former Carnation Milk Plant, more recently known as the Frye and Gray Building, located at 210 E. Spring Street.

The city purchased properties at 220,210, 210 ½, and 212 E. Spring Street.

The area now serves as a green space, with the exception of one building remaining in the corner of the property.
Daniel said once the project is closed out, the city plans to deed the space, including the building, over to the Newton County Historical Society, whose park currently connects with the property.

Dale Jobe, of the Newton County Historical Society, was in attendance Wednesday evening and said the historical society plans to fix the roof on the remaining structure, and that they do have the funds saved up to perform the needed work.

The East Spring Street demolition project had three funding sources: the city of Neosho the CDBG, and the Missouri Development Finance Board.

The city paid the smallest amount for the work, at a total cost of $8,536, while MDFB paid $45,100 and the CDB grant picked up the majority of the cost at $191,859. 12.

Once the 2007 project is complete, Daniel said the city will also close up the remaining three projects.

Among those is the Howard Bush Extension, completed in 2009, which connected Howard Bush Drive from Industrial Drive to the Route 60 intersection.

"That's a concrete roadway, and this was based on the truck traffic that was predicted to be on this roadway," Daniel said. "I think that prediction has held true, we do see a lot of truck traffic."

That project included getting Jarden to Neosho, Daniel said, and was funded $599,000 by CDBG funds, $447,891.20 by the City of Neosho, and $2,429,290.16 by Jarden, though Daniel said Jarden's contribution went primarily to the facility.
"Part of this grant did focus on bringing Jarden in," Daniel said. "Our focus was the roadway and that has been completed, it's heavily used. I'm not aware of any problems with it and it seems to accomplish the purpose that the grant was awarded for."

Work funded by the 2006 Spring Street grant, which focused on the area around Spring and College Street, was finished in 2009.

That project included new sidewalk construction, lighting and parking. The new sidewalk and lighting extended from the northwest corner of the Neosho Square to the intersection of College and Spring Street, while parking was developed to the north of the Neosho-Newton County Library.

Funding for the Spring Street project came mostly from CDBG, with the grant paying for $400,000 of the work, while the City of Neosho paid $73,885 and Missouri Development Finance Board funds covered $77,206.

The final project in the group, the downtown landscaping, was canceled during the design work phase. Of the $400,000 CDB grant, only $40,000 was spent, which was picked up by the city.

Daniel said while the funds are no longer obligated to the city for that project, the project remains open until formally closed as part of the current process.

The downtown landscaping project was canceled in April 2009.