• Construction is progressing on the Bicentennial Bridge, a 765-foot, $3.75 million bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Union Pacific railroad tracks that will link the Capitol grounds near the Veteran’s Memorial with Adrian’s Island, a 30-acre parcel of forest and wetlands on the Missouri River. Union Pacific donated $200,000 to the project this month. The bridge was hoped to be completed in time for the bicentennial celebration this August but gathering all the necessary permits has it running about six months behind schedule.
• Jefferson City Council members agreed to spend $588,000 to renovate a fire station in the southeast part of the city. Station No. 4, on Ellis Blvd., just east of Tanner Bridge Road near Oak Hills Golf Course will be expanded and largely remodeled. The fire station was built and opened in 1969. Firefighters will have to be relocated for at least part of the construction, which is expected to begin soon and be completed by fall.
• Cole County awarded bids for road improvements that will take place this summer. Higgins Asphalt Paving Co., will do $599,973 of asphalt overlay on Big Meadows Road, Helias Spur and Old Lohman Road. Annual chip sealing totaling $265,540 will be done by Missouri Petroleum Products Co. on Old Stage, West Railroad, Pea Ridge, Branch, St. Michaels and Algoa roads. Pavement preservation sealing totaling $129,213 will be done by Corrective Asphalt Materials on Rainbow Drive, Highland Waye, and Schrivner, Blackburn, Mount Hope, Waterford and West Lohman roads.
• Several events are planned in August to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of Missouri becoming the 24th state in the union. Missouri Statehood Day will be observed Aug. 10 with celebrations occurring statewide. In Jefferson City, festivities taking place Aug. 8-10 at the Capitol will include a Gold Star Memorial dedication, dedication of the Bicentennial Bridge, a Statehood Day ceremony, a U.S. naturalization ceremony and an ice cream social. A calendar of events is available at www.missouri2021.org.
• The Jefferson City Council has been taking public comments on a proposal to increase the city’s sewer rates. A proposal from city staff would raise rates by two percent this year, and an additional five percent every year until 2027. According to city documents, a household currently paying $31 per month for sewer service would end up pay about $43 per month by the time the increases end. The additional funds would be used for about $44 million in meter and sewer line replacements. The issue is expected to be on the agenda for a vote at the council’s June 7 meeting.
• The city council is also grappling with parking issues in the downtown area. Feasibility studies done over the last two decades have identified a deficit of about 1,484 parking spots in the downtown area, particularly close to the Capitol. The council voted down a proposal from staff in late April to purchase two parcels of land in the 100 block of West McCarty Street for $938,000. One of the properties in the proposal, owned by Jefferson Street LLC, is already a parking lot. The other, an adjacent warehouse, is owned by Central Missouri Realty Co.
• A new assisted living facility is being planned on property south of W. Edgewood Drive in the southeast part of town. Americare Senior Living out of Columbia will develop the project on farm ground owned by Robert and Joan Kauffman. The single-story 30-unit assisted living facility will be a little over 25,000 sq. ft. In addition, there will be 10 cottage homes with 25 units and a clubhouse. The property will be connected to the Greenway Trail system, enabling residents access to the walkways. Americare is also providing an easement along the Wears Creek corridor for future extension of the Greenways Trial System that will eventually connect W. Edgewood Drive to County Park Lake and the fairgrounds.
• Jefferson City’s annual Memorial Day service, traditionally held at the National Cemetery, will be moved to the capitol for the second year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Jefferson City Veterans Council will conduct the services at 10:30 a.m. May 31 at the Veterans Memorial on the north side of the Capitol.
• Jefferson City School District moved up the last day of school to May 27, cancelling several weather makeup days. The school superintendent has the discretion to call off the days as long as the district meets the state’s minimum number of hours, which is 1,044 per school year.
(Mike Murphy is President of BUZ Communications, which publishes Jefferson City BUZ. Feedback welcome, please send to email@example.com)