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Joplin city council votes to drop 15th Street viaduct project - KOAM TV 7

Joplin city council votes to drop 15th Street viaduct project

Updated January 8, 2013 at 12:20 PM CST:  The Joplin city council votes to drop the 15th Street viaduct project from the city's plans.

Fifteen years ago First Missouri Insurance Agency owner Donald Gould bought a building off 14th and Illinois and about a year ago he spent time and money renovating it.  He moved there from a previous location after a viaduct was put in.

"I experienced while the construction was going on and a year after and it had a definite impact on my business, it just makes it very difficult for people to get into the business," says Gould.

The City of Joplin was awarded a $12 million TIGER Grant from the Federal Highway Administration.  Part of the plan was to build a viaduct bridge at several areas in town where railroad tracks come through, including one at 15th Street near Gould's business.

"Think about if they had a business in this area, if they would want it affected like that," says Gould.

At Monday night's city council meeting Gould and several other business owners spoke out against the $7 million 15th Street viaduct project.

With a 5-to-4 vote the city council voted to delete the project.

"We are elected to do the will of the people and they came out and spoke tonight and we appreciate the democracy system in action," says Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean.  "I hate to see us lose any of the grant but I do understand the concerns of the businesses."

Now that the city plans have changed the city is worried that funding might be taken away in general.

"Certainly we hope the money for the grant stays here in Joplin," says Kevin Ward of the Federal Highway Administration.  "We're going to work very hard with our folks here in DC, also the offices of the secretary to work through the change in the application process now and then that will ultimately be a decision that the office of the secretary will make as terms to whether this grant moves forward or not."

If the new revisions get approved the project will have up to five years to be completed.

Posted January 7, 2013 at 4:59 PM CST:  A public meeting hosted by the Joplin city council this evening will consider several rezoning proposals.

Each proposal would create new commercial zoning.

One proposal is for the 300 block of South Main in Joplin.  Currently, it's a mix of residential and commercial.

Another rezoning issue concerns two lots at 20th and Carolyn Place.  The area was residential before the tornado but an insurance agent wants the land to be made commercial in order to build an office there.

Under the plan the 4,300 square foot building would have space for two tenants and the lot would accommodate 14 parking spaces.

And the other zoning change consideration is at the northeast and west corners of 32nd and Sabra Avenue.  A 6,800 square foot building with 36 parking spaces is proposed at the northeast corner.  The plan is to use the building for medical and dental offices.

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