• Staff from the Jefferson City parks department will soon begin work on the park that is planned for Adrian’s Island. The city is working with the engineering firm Bartlett and West on plans for the park, which will be located in an area of about j30 acres the runs between the Missouri Rifer and Union Pacific Railroad for about a mile from the Capitol to the Missouri State Penitentiary. Construction of the $3.5 million Bicentennial Bridge, which leads from the Capitol to the island, is well underway and expected to be completed in early 2022.
• A fleet of rentable scooters is likely to hit the ground in Jefferson City later this month, pending final approval from city council on rules and guidelines regulating their use. The scooter-sharing company Bird has indicated they will expand to Jefferson City under provisions of the proposed ordinances. Bird operates scooters in Columbia, as well as many other cities around the world. The city will collect a share of the rent revenue, and also data about travel patterns.
• Residents hooked up to the Jefferson City sewer system will pay more for sewer service every year until 2027 after action by the city council earlier this month. Council members voted unanimously to the incremental increases that begin with two percent in 2021 and five percent each year for the next five years. The increase will begin in July. According to city documents, a household in Jefferson City with a current monthly sewer bill of $31 will pay about $43 by the end of the increases.
• Two Jefferson City residents were appointed to positions by Gov. Mike Parsons earlier this month. Spencer Bartlett will serve on the Administrative Hearing Commission. Kristina Bernskoetter will join the Children’s Trust Fund Board. Bartlett has been an attorney at the Department of Revenue since 2017. The Administrative Hearing Commission consists of three judges that hold hearings and decide cases involving state agencies. The Children’s Trust Fund supports prevention of child abuse. It has a 17-member board of directors. Bernskoetter was appointed to a three-year term.
• Delays in getting construction off the ground on the new athletic facilities planned for Jefferson City high schools has pushed back the completion date from this fall until next spring. Originally planned for May, excavation is now expected to begin at the end of June. About $21.4 million in improvements are planned for Jefferson City and Capital City high schools. At Capital City, new construction will include a press box, new bleachers, concessions, restrooms and locker rooms for use between the football and soccer fields; dugouts, concessions, restrooms and storage at the baseball and softball fields; and new parking lots. At Jefferson City High, construction will include new baseball and softball complex with dugouts, bullpens, batting cages and bleachers; an eight-court tennis complex; a new, lighted soccer field with bleachers; and a new press box, restrooms, concessions and storage.
• Jefferson City council members continue to grapple with parking solutions in the downtown area. A $13.1 million plan for a new four-level parking garage on West McCarty between Washington and Jefferson has been on the council’s agenda since April 19. It would die for lack of support by the June 21 meeting. Studies in 1999 and 2017 found a deficit in spaces, but wide ranges of solutions have shortcomings, are impractical or controversial. The city’s Public Works Director Matt Morasch is suggesting more formal study and meetings with community groups.
• The Jefferson City School district and its facilities focus group have begun drafting a facilities renovation plan that will be completed later this summer and result in a recommendation to the school board for addressing overcrowding in kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms. Voter approval to sell bonds for financing any expansion would likely be sought in April 2022. Four primary options are developing: 1.) Continue adding trailers; 2.) build a new elementary school and a new middle school; 3.) build two new schools for grades 5-6; build two new schools for grades 5-8.
• Several motorists called Jefferson City police one day in late May to report a black bear near the roadway where Eastland Drive intersects Hwy. 50 on the city’s east side. Officers were unable to locate the bear.
• Michelle Wessler took over as executive director of the Jefferson City Housing Authority, replacing Cynthia Quetsch who retired in May. Wessler has worked for the authority for 18 years, most recently as chief housing officer. The Housing Authority is a city commission that operates 318 units of public housing and 421 units with other sources of funding that are rented based on the tenant’s income.
(Mike Murphy is President of BUZ Communications, which publishes Jefferson City BUZ. Feedback welcome, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org)