Another hurdle has been cleared to allow a new 50-bed assisted living center for seniors to locate in Neosho.

Another hurdle has been cleared to allow a new 50-bed assisted living center for seniors to locate in Neosho.

Neosho City Council on Tuesday approved the first reading of an ordinance to rezone property located 2601 Oakridge Extension from R-1, first dwelling house district to R-3, apartment house district.

City manager Troy Royer explained the land must be rezoned to clear the path for the ClearPath Senior Living facility to locate there, at the junction with U.S. Highway 60. City council approved a letter of support last May to facilitate the Webster Groves, Mo., company in building the complex here.

At that time, Mike Franks, CEO, Neosho Area Business and Industrial Foundation, Inc. (NABIFI), noted that support for the facility was overwhelming, as local and county officials, our state senator and representative, our U.S. Congressman, and area medical facilities including Freeman had all lent their support for the project.

Franks said the proposed single-story approximately 37,000-square-feet facility would feature 46 units with 50 beds. He also said it would provide about 30 new jobs to the community.

Another hurdle cleared Tuesday was council approval on first reading of a bill to authorize the city to execute an application with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission to request the opening of three railway crossings on Doniphan Drive to accommodate the proposed Crowder Gateway Global Intermodal Facility in the city’s industrial park.

After the affirmative vote, Mayor Richard Davidson noted that city council has done everything it has been asked to do to facilitate that intermodal facility being constructed in Neosho, despite local commentary to the contrary.

“Every single request that has come before city council on the intermodal project has been approved as requested,” he said. “It’s disappointing when I read statements on the Internet or hear people on the streets saying that we’ve been opposed to economic growth, we’ve been opposed to this intermodal project. That can be no further from the truth in the sense that we have supported everything. And not only have we supported it, but we have provided solutions to the engineering firm and the consultants working with NABIFI based on their needs to find solutions to meet their needs. And they’ve even been complimentary, so why people at NABIFI and people associated with them are out saying that the city hasn’t supported it, it’s obviously not true, they’re just for whatever reason trying to misrepresent the facts based on an agenda that I’m not aware of today, but I’d sure like to understand it better.”

Also in new business, council approved change order number 2 on the Hatchery Trail Project that has recently been completed, connecting the Neosho National Fish Hatchery to Benton Park with new ADA compliant sidewalk. Economic development director Dana Daniel explained the project included an additional cost of $1,612.50 due to additional concrete necessary to construct a driveway on McKinney Street under ADA compliancy. He said that is the final change, and added that the project was budgeted at $251,000, but the final contract is for $181,000.

• Council also approved closing out CDBG documents on grants received on downtown parking lots, sidewalks, landscaping and lighting projects that Daniel said date to 2006.

• Council approved the agreement with U.S. Alarm and Electrical, after approving the bid from that company at the previous meeting to install security cameras at the public works facility and they approved the expenditure of $2,000 from the hotel/motel tax to help sponsor the 3rd annual Roughrider Rodeo at the Crowder College Arena.

One bid approved will allow a new heat pump to be installed at the Neosho Senior Center. Daniel said the system that services the billiard room has been repaired several times in recent years and it must now be replaced. He said the approved low bid from Precision Heating, Air and Refrigeration of $6,710 includes labor.

Three bills were given final approval on second and third readings. Royer said the first amends the code of ordinances regarding stormwater runoff for post construction.

“It’s bringing us into compliance with DNR and EPA,” said Royer. “It’s just telling what contractors need to do in the post construction phases of their projects. We’re basically approving a manual used by the city of Springfield, just like we do the BOCA building code, fire code, so that we have some sort of a standardization.”

The second amends revenues and expenditures for the 2014 fiscal year in the finance department. Royer said that is an end of year budget adjustment needed after the purchase of a new fire truck in late 2013 as it was acquired under a lease agreement.

The third bill amends the revenues and expenditures in the public works department for the current fiscal year. Royer said that adjustment was needed because of the department’s acquisition of a new truck that was approved at the previous council meeting.

In reports of city officers, finance director Daphne Pevahouse noted March sales tax receipts were up 20 percent over last year, and added that those receipts are up 14.2 percent so far in this fiscal year. Pevahouse said that is 18.6 percent over projections.

Royer reported the city has now paid $26,000 of $50,000 that was budgeted for attorneys fees to defend the city against a couple of Sunshine Law request lawsuits filed by two city council members and their attorney.

Upon prompting from Davidson, city clerk Nora Houdyshell reported all of those requested documents are available in her office, but Davidson is the only council member who has asked to look at them.