Happy Friday Neosho! Another Christmas is in the books and we’re probably a few pounds heavier due to all the good food we couldn’t let go to waste over the holiday, and it’s not over quite yet! Diet starts in T-minus two days, right?

Happy Friday Neosho! Another Christmas is in the books and we’re probably a few pounds heavier due to all the good food we couldn’t let go to waste over the holiday, and it’s not over quite yet! Diet starts in T-minus two days, right?
This year was one of many memories. Some good, some not so good, but in all, it was a difficult yet rewarding year for our community. The flood in April was by far the most challenging of events this year for Neosho. I’m so proud of how our city came together in a trying time and worked alongside each other to weather the storm. Though it was a tough time for all and devastating for some, through it all a strong resilience was revealed in the heart and minds of our people. That resilience was as tough as a ten-penny nail and it made all the difference!
We learned a lot, worked hard, and looked out for one another. Many gave sacrificially for the needs of others, and many went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety of the citizens and as quick of a recovery as possible. There are things that we did extremely well and others we could have done better. I want to assure you that we will be implementing various measures throughout the departments at the city based on what we learned from the flood.
Last council meeting we approved a third-party study to see what more we can do in the south-eastern areas of the city to help with flooding in the future. Particularly the areas along Lafayette/Pineville Rd. The retention ponds installed several years back in the northwestern part of Neosho proved to be a lifesaver in those areas. This new study will explore similar flood prevention possibilities in other areas.
This year we made much-needed improvements to Scenic Park. New playground equipment was installed and updates to buildings and park grounds. We have put together a committee to discuss needed improvements in Morse Park, and also to give suggestions on a direction for the future regarding the best placement of our ball diamonds.
Needed updates were made to the Police Department vehicle fleet this year with three new patrol car purchases, and all under budget! We also purchased a new jetter truck this year for the Wastewater Department, and again under budget. Speaking of budget, we also lowered city property taxes this year!
Housing permits doubled in 2017 and commercial building is on the rise. We added Aldi, Orscheln, the new McDonald’s, Oak Tree Mart, Shoe Sensation, MoJoes Bakery, K&S Wire expansion, and the list goes on! A lot of great progress has been made in business this year and much more in the works for 2018.
We are also in the process of trying to do a cost share with MoDOT to get traffic lights installed at Hammer Rd. (by Loves truck stop) and also at Gateway Dr. and 86 Highway. There have been so many vehicle accidents at these locations and some with fatalities. Because the safety of our citizens is always a priority for council, we want to see this happen as soon as possible before there are any more lives lost! The future looks bright for Neosho! Until next time, Happy New Year and may God continue to bless Neosho!

Ben Baker is the mayor of Neosho and writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.