Business and economy news and issues in the Ozarks.

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.”

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.