Business and economy news and issues in the Ozarks.

Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce

The new president and CEO of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce is expected to be in place this fall. On Wednesday, the Chamber announced the appointment of Matt Morrow to the post. KSMU’s Alissa Zhu spoke with the Bolivar native and has this report.

Morrow attended college in his home town at Southwest Baptist University. A radio broadcaster in the 1990s, Morrow then expanded his horizons to politics.

Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce

A former southwest Missouri resident and Springfield executive has been named president and CEO of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

Alissa Zhu / KSMU

Springfield city officials have begun work to repair sight line concerns at the intersection of Bennett Street and Jefferson Avenue that prompted criticism earlier this summer.

According to a news release by the city, the northbound lane of Jefferson Avenue will be closed in the area directly south of Bennett Street beginning for bridge modifications. Lane shifts will be used to maintain one northbound lane and one southbound lane through the construction zone. Lane drops will be in place for approximately three weeks.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

The start of K-12 classes this week brought an uptick in morning and mid-afternoon traffic to Springfield. But as college courses resume next week, crews will still be working to complete construction along a major thoroughfare near the Missouri State University campus.

Rush hour has produced heavy congestion this summer at the intersection of Grand Street and Kimbrough Avenue, where crews have been performing repairs to aging utility lines. The $658,765 project is funded by the 1/8-cent Transportation Sales Tax.

City Utilities

Springfield citizens and businesses may soon have another renewal energy option. City Utilities on Friday held a dedication ceremony for a 40-acre solar farm northeast of Springfield that officials say can power approximately 900 homes each year. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has details.

The site, which was constructed and will be operated by North Carolina-based Strata Solar, consists of nearly 22,000 panels, making it the largest solar farm in Missouri. The project was developed by St. Louis-based Solexus Development. It is capable of producing 4.95 megawatts of energy.

(Logo courtesy City of Springfield)

The Springfield Art Museum will reveal a public art project Thursday, Aug. 14, titled “Springfield Neighbors.”  It was created by Memphis artist Richard Lou, and is intended to spark dialogue within the community regarding race, identity and diversity.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Grants to Missouri State University increased nine percent in Fiscal Year 2014 compared to the previous year. The university’s Office of Research Administration announced this week that a total of 289 grants donated to faculty and staff set a new record of $22 million.

These externally funded grants are used for a broad spectrum of ventures at Missouri State, says Dr. Erin Parrish, director of Research Administration. One example, she says, is funding from the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), which aids teaching training.

Park Board Implements New Photo Policy

Jul 24, 2014
KSMY/Taylor Vance

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board has implemented a new photography policy outlining how photographers and videographers may operate in public parks. KSMU’s Taylor Vance has the story.

The policy is designed to help preserve the parks and help reduce potential damages that can occur from photography sessions.

KSMU archives

MoDOT is partnering with the city of Springfield and Greene County on an upcoming project to begin Monday.  Construction beginning July 21st on south Campbell Avenue/Route 160, and Plainview Road will expand the area to six lanes.  MoDOT says drivers should expect lane closings at night with most of the work occurring between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., and some daytime delays are also possible.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

The President of Missouri State University says the state legislature needs to work out its differences to avoid withholdings that are compromising school budgets.

Clif Smart recommended to the MSU Board of Governors in June to pass the Fiscal Year 2015 budget as is, noting that the school had a plan in place should certain monies be withheld.   

That plan is now playing out following Governor Jay Nixon’s recent announcement to withhold more than $1 billion from the state budget.

Montgomery County Planning Commission / flickr

The public and employee parking lots near the Busch Municipal Building in Springfield are getting a makeover.  But the changes won’t just improve traffic flow.  They’ll also help the environment.  KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.

Construction on the lots, just east of the Busch Municipal Building, will begin in the middle of next month.  It’s part of a grant-funded project to demonstrate ways of reducing the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution that reach area streams.

Anna Thomas / KSMU

Ozarks Food Harvest distributed 12.5 million meals in its most recent fiscal year, a record in its 31 years in Springfield. The donations help local food pantries across region. KSMU’s Anna Thomas has the story of how one organization and its customers are benefiting.

“Well actually, this is the first time I’ve seen it this busy in here in a long time,” says one pantry patron, inside the Well of Life emergency food pantry at 418 South Kimbrough.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Springfield Mayor Bob Stephens is defending the city’s recent marijuana lawsuit settlement. As KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, the remarks were part of the Mayor’s annual State of the City Address which highlighted various initiatives.

Speaking to roughly 300 people Thursday morning, Stephens said the certified petition brought before the City Council in 2012 was flawed, saying he and most council members had a “real problem with passing an ordinance that we knew was in violation of state law.”