Local Government

News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Courtesy of Amy Russell-Public Information Officer with Springfield-Greene County

This week on Making Democracy Work, host Lynn Howerton speaks with Amy Russell, public information officer with Springfield--Greene County.

Today’s discussion explores the ongoing task of improving and building upon Greene County’s hazard mitigation plan.

Michele Skalicky

If you stand along South Creek just east of Campbell and look west, it’s hard to imagine that just a short time ago, the stream was just a concrete channel with water flowing down the middle.  Now, in the warmer seasons, it’s a lush landscape with native plants, birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

A project to restore part of Fassnight Creek near the Springfield Art Museum will be similar to the project done here at South Creek along Sunset between Campbell Avenue and Kansas Expressway.  This restoration project was finished just over three years ago, in late October, 2016.

Michele Skalicky / KSMU-Ozarks Public Radio

Fassnight Creek meanders along the south side of Phelps Grove Park along Brookside Dr.  It comes from underground at Linwood Circle near the Springfield Art Museum and runs west.

That section of the creek is concrete, but plans are in place to make the part from about Kings Ave. on the west to just east of the museum more natural.

City of Springfield

Plans are in the works to open up or “daylight” Jordan Creek between Boonville and Main in downtown Springfield.  It’s currently underground in a box culvert.  The project to move the creek underground was done in the late 1920s and was funded with a bond issue that was approved by city voters in 1927. 

The city of Springfield’s principal stormwater engineer, Chris Dunnaway, told City Council Tuesday about preliminary plans for the area and gave a history of flooding along Jordan Creek since development in the Jordan Valley began in the mid 19th Century. 

Michael Dorausch / Flickr

This week on Making Democracy Work, Leslie Carrier speaks with Commissioner Kevin Austin, who oversees the Greene County Veteran’s treatment court program.

Today’s discussion explores characteristics, goals and outcomes of the Greene County veterans program which has been in operation for two years.   

Springfield will soon have nowhere to house those arrested on municipal charges but who haven’t yet been sentenced.

The city has been housing up to 40 municipal prisoners a day at the Vernon County Jail, but that county’s sheriff decided he wanted to cancel an agreement that went into effect two years ago.

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams told Springfield City Council this week they renegotiated the agreement, and they’ll be able to send up to 10 sentenced prisoners a day to Vernon County as of November 1 at a cost of $45 each per day.

Chloe O'Neill

Springfield City Council has voted to appoint a hearing examiner, Kenneth Thompson, to look into allegations of ethics violations by councilwoman and mayor pro tem, Jan Fisk.

Fisk requested the appointment and said she hopes “it will resolve any remaining issue.”

The complaint by Linda Simkins said Fisk Limousines, owned by Fisk and her husband, was the low bidder for two city contracts after Fisk was elected.  And it states that Fisk Limos is involved with charter bus services for the city.

Springfield City Council will consider the appointment of a hearing examiner after a citizen filed an ethics complaint against councilwoman, Jan Fisk.

The city’s legal department recused itself from the investigation, and City Council hired outside counsel, St. Louis attorney, Kevin O’Keefe.  After studying the matter, O’Keefe said he does not “believe the matters asserted in the July 2 and August 5 complaints rise to the level necessary to support referral to a hearing examiner.”

Springfield City Hall
KSMU

What do you want Springfield to look like in 20 years?   Forward SGF, the official name for the next comprehensive city plan for Springfield, is underway.

This long-range, community-wide plan will help City Council chart out improvements for Springfield for the next two decades. So, leaders are seeking community feedback.

Randall Whitman, the principal planner for the city’s planning and development department, said that this plan acts as a roadmap for the city.

KSMU

Joplin and Springfield have made a top ten list identifying the best cities for truckers in the US. 

In a study of 384 cities by AdvisorSmith, Springfield ranks #9 for best mid-size cities for heavy & tractor-trailer truck drivers.

And Joplin was ranked #1 in the study, due to its location in the four state area, and many major trucking lines have their headquarters there.

According to Katherine Trombetta, spokeswoman for the Missouri Jobs Center, Springfield earned the ranking for a number of reasons, including its central location in the United States.

Courtesy of Melissa Hasse

This week on Making Democracy Work, host Leslie Carrier speaks with Melissa Haase, assistant director of Public Information and Civic Engagement for the City of Springfield.

Today’s discussion explores the City’s efforts in networking and connecting residents throughout Springfield, particualrly the Springfield Neighborhood News publication.

KSMU/KSMU Archives

Twelve people spoke before Springfield City Council Monday night about proposed changes to the tobacco ordinance, and all were in favor of raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco in the city to 21.

One of those was Steve Edwards, president of CoxHealth, and, while he could have shared statistics to convince council members to vote yes on what’s being called the “Tobacco 21 Act,” he told a personal story.

City Of Springfield

A City of Springfield news release announced the passing of former City Councilman Ralph Manley as follows:

Ralph K. Manley, who parachuted into Normandy France on D-Day (June 6, 1944) and was a City Councilman, passed away May 6, 2019. Manley was an enthusiastic supporter of Springfield, known for his “public leaps of joy” and indefatigable optimism.

The City of Springfield is taking bids on various parcels of city-owned land at 17 locations in Springfield.

Many of the properties were once the site of buildings that have been demolished by the city.  Some were forfeited to the city as a result of delinquent sewer liens.

When determining an asking price for a surplus property, the city says it takes several things into consideration, including other property values in the neighborhood and the amount of money the city has put into the site through demolitions or paying off liens.

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