Business and economy news and issues in the Ozarks.

Alissa Zhu / KSMU

Springfield city officials are revisiting a recently completed project to reduce flooding hazards that turned into a visibility hazard for motorists.

A 42-inch high barrier wall near the intersection of Bennett Street and Jefferson Avenue has become the subject of scrutiny after citizens contacted the city with sight line concerns.

On Tuesday, officials announced they plan to cut down the height of the walls, a project that could take between 6-8 weeks. Costs to lower the wall are unknown at this time, according to the city.

Lee Cannon; Flickr

Bennett Street at Jefferson, which has been closed for a long time, is now open—but not all of it.  The Fassnight Creek Stormwater and Greenway Trail Improvements Project included reconstruction of bridges and roadways and flood plain improvements to reduce flooding hazards to motorists and nearby neighborhoods, according to a news release from the city of Springfield.

Donald Swanson / Edward Jones

Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce President Rob O’Brian has an answer for those who might question the town’s business community ability to bounce back from the EF-5 tornado which struck Joplin Sunday May 22nd 2011, killing 161 persons and destroying or damaging thousands of homes and businesses.

David Starrett

Rob O’Brian is President of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, and today has an update on the City’s 531 businesses destroyed or severely damaged or destroyed by an EF-5 tornado which tore through the town May 22, 2011 killing 161 persons. O’Brian says of the businesses and the 5,000 job slots affected by the tornado, 90% are back in business and back to work. “The status of Joplin’s business community is very dynamic. The thing we have seen is about 160 new businesses come into Joplin. So pre tornado, we are up month over month about 1,000-1,500 jobs more than pre tornado.”

Missouri State University

The Missouri State Board of Governors is expected to approve an operating budget of $263 million for the next fiscal year, up $10 million from the current budget.

According to a news release, the budget increase will be funded in part by a 5.2 percent increase in state appropriations. Officials also project “enrollment growth and modest increases in non-resident and graduate tuition and fees” to assist the larger projected budget.

Springfield-Greene County Library District
Springfield-Greene County Library District

The Springfield-Greene County Library District has approved a budget of just over $20 million for the next fiscal year.

The Board of Trustees allocated $8.4 million of the budget for personnel and $2.35 million for books, e-books, DVDs and other lending materials. The new budget goes into effect on July 1.

Mike Smith / KSMU

A recent study commissioned by the CFO and the Musgrave Foundation, shows Springfield’s nonprofit community as a major player in the social and economic structure of the city. Dan Prater led the study, as Director of the Center for Nonprofit Communication at Drury University. “With the study, I wanted not only to clarify some misconceptions, but I wanted people to know that nonprofits are players.” To the tune of $4 Billion dollars a year in Springfield alone, 20% of the city’s total revenue.

Anna Thomas / KSMU

During the final hours of its session in May, the Missouri General Assembly passed 10 bills, a majority of which were tax exemptions.  On Wednesday morning, ahead of Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of all of the bills, the Joint City-Greene County Planning Task force met to discuss the potential losses for Springfield and Greene County. KSMU’s Anna Thomas has the story.

City of Springfield

The City of Springfield has named Tim Smith as its new deputy city manager. He’ll report to City Manager Greg Burris.

Smith has served as Greene County administrator since 2008, and has been with the county since 1992. In a news release, the city says Smith scaled back to part-time hours and half pay last year in an effort to help the county deal with a budget shortfall.

Smith replaces Gen. Fred Marty, who died last November after a short battle with cancer. Marty had resigned from the position shortly before his death.

Springfield City Hall

Springfield voters have renewed the ¾-cent police-fire pension sales tax, which will bring the pension plan to full funding over the next several years.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results from the Greene County Clerk's office show that 76 percent of citizens on Tuesday voted not to repeal the measure, meaning the tax will continue at its current rate for a period not to exceed five years, or until the pension plan is fully funded.  

Scott Harvey / KSMU

This week, Springfield was named the 24th best city in the country to start a business by Wallet Hub, a small business and personal financing website. KSMU’s Julie Greene has more on what this ranking means for local entrepreneurs.

The Springfield-Branson National Airport is expanding its general aviation complex to make room for more private aircraft.  KSMU's Theresa Bettmann reports about why this could be a boost for the local economy.

Next month, the airport will begin to expand and change its general aviation complex. Kent Boyd is a spokesperson for the airport.

Beginning in 1976, the University of Missouri Extension has been recognizing a history in agriculture by honoring the state’s longtime family farms called Century Farms.  KSMU's Theresa Bettmann has more on the special designation.

Orcmid via Flickr

In the weeks since the kidnapping and murder of Hailey Owens, discussions on how to ensure the safety and security of neighborhoods have grown. KSMU's Theresa Bettmann has more on building stronger neighborhood communities.

How many people do you know in your neighborhood?  Some experts suggest that you should know at least 10 along your street.  But how many of us actually do? I, myself, confess to only knowing four, and wanted to learn the numbers of others.