City Council considers adding members, hears plan for Hill Street

Lee Ann Murphy
Community Editor

Neosho Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim Cummins appeared at the regular meeting of the Neosho City Council to discuss rerouting Hill Street. The street divides the high school campus and must be rerouted to allow for the construction of a new performing arts center at Neosho High School. The center is part of a school levy passed in June that also calls for renovation at Bob Anderson Stadium, construction of an indoor athletic field on the site of the present baseball field, relocating that field to the junior high sports complex, and providing storm shelters for the remaining campuses who currently lack one.

"It's time to start the discussion of how we go about this process," he said.

Cummins stated that the project will add about 600 feet of road. Hill Street from the bottom of Senior Hill at the intersection with Sherman Street will take a new rote north and will cross the current ditch and then cross the current practice field to Neosho Boulevard. The new stretch of road will line up across the Boulevard with Patterson Street, which leads up to the district headquarters on Fairground Road.

To accomplish the project, the district is working with FEMA, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and Allgeier Martin. The project will affect the current watershed and plans call for a retaining wall to be built on the west side of the track to alleviate flooding. Once the roadway project is complete, the current grass practice field will become a parking area. Plans will call for some limited green space near the northwest corner of the high school's atrium, which will be adjacent to the new performing arts center. Cummins expressed his belief that the performing arts center will be utilized not only by the high school and district but also by the city and Crowder College.

Flooding along and through the ditch is a existing issue.

"At some point in time, I hope we can discuss what happens upstream before it reaches the high school," Cummins told the council.

The possibility of a three or four way stop at the intersection of the new Hill Street and Neosho Boulevard was discussed.

"I know MoDOT hates putting intersections in," Councilman Tom Workman said. "I'm all for it - I think it's a wise idea."

Options for an intersection could possibly include a traffic light or even a roundabout.

"We're changing our curb appeal on Neosho Boulevard," Cummins said.

In other business the council discussed the possibility of putting a measure on the November ballot that would increase the number of council members to 7, with three at large members and four who would represent each current voting precinct. The idea is that each area of the city would be better represented. Currently all members are considered at large and do not represent any specific area of town.

"All the city is voting on is whether to expand the council," Neosho City Attorney Jordan Paul said. "If they approve, then council would approve an ordinance where it would specify how those precincts are defined."

In August, the council will approve ballot language to put the proposal on the November 3 ballot.

The council also discussed the possible creation of a social media policy with several options including one that would use social media as a place to make announcements and offer information without allowing for public comment. The council decided to look at what other area communities have in place and plan to make a formal social media policy at a later date.

The city council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, August 4 which is also the date for the August primary. Neosho City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday at chambers in Neosho City Hall, southeast corner of the Neosho Square.