The Neosho City Council met in regular session on Tuesday evening. Councilwoman Angela Thomas was excused for her absence and all other members were present.
Newton County Chaplain Mark Taylor opened the meeting with a prayer followed by Eric Kruse, local VFW Post 4142 commander led the Pledge of Allegiance.
In visitor business, Kruse came forward with two items. The first was an inquiry about the UH-1 Huey helicopter currently on display. Last April, Kruse proposed that the helicopter be moved from its current location in Morse Park to the VFW post. Concerns that the helicopter, on loan to the city by the United States Army, needs repairs and has been the target of repeated vandalism.
"As soon as we get that thing moved and set up on VFW property, it will be better," Kruse said.
Neosho City Manager David Kennedy noted that the helicopter will be moved to a hanger at the Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport as soon as the new hangers are completed. Rachel Holcomb, the city's Economic Development Director, anticipates the work will be completed by early March.
Kruse's second item of business was a request to name a road after local citizen Erron Wright, Senior.
"I first time I met Erron Wright, Senior was back in 1982 or 1983," Kruse recalled. "He had a huge impact on my life. I have a lot to thank him for, up to my life."
Kruse explained that the skills he learned from Wright's karate studio continued with him into the Marine Special Forces.
He listed Wright's many honors and accomplishments which include serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, teaching martial arts including karate for almost fifty years and a career working for Missouri Gas Energy, now Spire, for 43 years. Wright founded a martial arts studio in Neosho, a tradition that continues with his son, Erron Wright, Junior and grandchildren.
The road he suggested naming for Wright is located adjacent to Harmony Street and Neosho Boulevard and runs from the former Dollar General Location to American Family Insurance. Kruse noted it does not currently have a name. He would like to change that in honor of Wright.
In other business, the council formed an advisory board for Neosho's IOOF Cemetery and hired a landscaper for the property. Last fall, ownership of the cemetery was transferred to the city after it fell into receivership. The Neosho Police Department investigated missing cemetery funds in the amount of $18, 901.01. No charges were filed but the case remains under review by the Newton County Prosecuting Attorney's office.
Six letters of interest were received and on Tuesday, the council named two city members and two county members. City members are James Robert Carter and Michelle Smith while county members are Paul Richardson and Karen Love. Wes Franklin who also sent in a letter of interest is currently on the board and represents the Sons of the Confederacy. Additional seats for a library staff members, a city staffer and a City Council member will be selected at the next council meeting. The cemetery advisory board will meet at least every three months. They will be responsible for rules and regulations that will apply to IOOF Cemetery, represent the city in any cemetery matters, accept donations during the Memorial Day weekend, screen any potential employees and recommend expenditures to the council. The council would make any final financial decisions.
Council members also voted to accept a bid in the amount of $84,000 to maintain the cemetery grounds. Each season, there are 40 weeks of mowing.
The City's efforts are also ongoing mapping plots at the cemetery and issuing deeds as paperwork is completed. A number of plot holders did not receive deeds from Clark Funeral Home but the city is diligent in their efforts to rectify the oversight. IOOF Cemetery is located at South Street and Freeman Road in Neosho.
The council also selected members of the 405 Code Committee, which are Kathi Pelligrin, David Ruth, David Harris, Janet Penn and Rick Drake, current Planning and Zoning board members Randy Hoselton and Julie Kruse and council members Carmin Allen and Jon Stephens. The first meeting is planned for late March.
Bids for a proposed bike trail project in Morse Park were not complete so the city opened a new bidding period.
The council also heard an update on the disc golf program. Of 18 new baskets, 8 have been installed.
The Neosho City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. in council chambers at city hall. Neosho City Hall is located on the southeast corner of the historic Neosho downtown square.
For more information about the city, visit www.neoshomo.org