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Aldermen discuss cost of Mary St. bridge replacement

The City of Jackson Board of Alderman discussed the potential cost to replace the Mary Street low-water bridge to include sidewalks during its meeting Oct. 5.

During study session, the Board was given an engineering proposal from Cochran to replace the low-water bridge in the City Park and add sidewalks on both sides of the bridge.

The cost to construct the bridge is estimated to be $975,543. The 0.2 miles of sidewalk will cost an additional $142,895. The total project would cost more than $1.1 million.

Board Member Katy Liley said she would want sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, as crossing at the bridge would not be as safe for pedestrians.

“I understand it is a lot of money,” City Administrator Jim Roach said. “It’s a lot of impact to the neighborhood to construct it, but this is a one-time opportunity for a project that’s going to uplift that adjacent neighborhood, and it should last 100 years.”

The project would take about a year to construct after the design is finalized. Roach said they have discussed constructing the bridge in 2022, but the design could be completed earlier.

Roach added that the Board could wait to see if grant funding becomes available.

“I think we have time,” Roach said. “I would rather everybody be comfortable and we get this right, … rather than rush into something.”

In other action

• Water tower lease: The Board discussed a potential lease agreement with Cape Girardeau County for the County to use the north water tower for a dispatch communication antenna.

Jackson Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Sean Mitchell said the north water tower is the highest and best location in the county for rural fire district communication.

The County will have increased communication throughout the county, and the County will install additional cables and antennas for the City to use. Mitchell said he has read the lease agreement, and it is a good deal for the City.

The County will install the antenna on the tower, as well as fund and construct a building at the water tower to hold equipment. “All we have to do is give them some place to put the building and run some power to it,” Mitchell said.

• Employee medical insurance: Todd Obergoenner from Swinford & Associates provided the Board an update about employee medical insurance for the upcoming year. United Healthcare has offered a 20.9 percent price increase, so Obergoenner said they are currently looking at other carriers for medical insurance next year.

Obergoenner said they have reached out for quotes from Anthem, Aetna, National General and Auxiant, a third-party administrator. He said one of the options from Auxiant would only include SoutheastHEALTH and not Saint Francis Medical Center. Board Member Paul Sander said he would not be in favor of a plan that only included Southeast-HEALTH locally.

Obergoenner said he would only recommend Auxiant’s plan excluding Saint Francis if it provided significant savings for the City. He added that he should have the quotes and a recommendation at the next Board meeting.

• New city streets: The board approved the creation of Old Bethel Lane and Wanda Lee Way.

Old Bethel Lane, which previously was a private drive, is off of Lee Avenue and leads to the historic Old Bethel Church. Old Bethel Church was the first non-Catholic church west of the Mississippi River and was restored in 2007.

Wanda Lee Way runs between Birk Lane and East Jackson Boulevard, near Center Junction. The land where the new street is located was donated to the City by the Drury family and is named after their mother. Wanda Lee Way was also designated as a truck route.

• Citizen recognition: Four service awards were given out to citizens who have spent over 10 years on various governing boards for the city. Janice Lumsden was recognized for her work on the Community Outreach Board for the past 12 years. Betty Hardy was also recognized for her work on the Zoning Board of Adjustment for the past 12 years.

Dr. Dwight Johnson, who has served on the Park Board for the past 11 years, and Ken Ruff, who has served on two city boards over the last 16 years, were also recognized at the meeting but were unable to attend. Ruff has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustments.

“We couldn’t operate without those who serve on our various boards that we have,” Mayor Dwain Hahs said. “They do this without compensation and many times without a lot of ‘thank you’s.’”

• Sewer project change orders: The Board approved a change order of $273,406 to Jokerst, Inc. related to the first phase of the Williams Creek Sanitary Sewer Extension Project. The additional expenses were mostly due to additional rock removal and moving the sewer farther away from the creek. The original contract price for the project was $1.3 million.

The Williams Creek Sanitary Sewer Extension Project also saw an increase of $7,820 in expenditures to Koehler Engineering & Land Surveying related to providing engineering services related to emergency bank stabilization. The Board approved the change.

In addition, the Board approved a change order of $2,638 to SAK Construction for their work on the 2020 Sanitary Sewer Lining Program that was finished last month. The change order request was due to more feet of liner being cleaned, inspected and lined than estimated. In addition, a few lines required additional cleaning prior to the installation of the liner. The original contract price for the project was $97,488.

• Pioneer Orchard subdivision: The Board approved the final plat of the ninth Pioneer Orchard subdivision, as submitted by The Villas of West Park.

• New traffic signs: New stop signs will be added on Cortland Drive at its intersection with Pioneer Orchard Drive with traffic on Cortland Drive to stop, on Jona Gold Court at its intersection with Cortland Drive with traffic on Jona Gold Court to stop, on Old Bethel Lane at its intersection with Lee Avenue with traffic on Old Bethel Lane to stop, on Spartan Drive at its intersection with Cortland Drive, traffic on Spartan Drive to stop and on Wanda Lee Way at its intersection with Birk Lane with traffic from Wanda Lee Way to stop.

The City will also remove stop signs on Old Cape Road East and on Wedekind Street. Traffic going both east and west on Old Cape Road East will no longer stop at the intersection with Wedekind Street.

In addition, the northbound and southbound traffic stops on Wedekind Street at the intersection with East Jackson Boulevard will be removed. A yield sign will be added in its place.

A yield sign will also be added on Wanda Lee Way at East Jackson Boulevard. Traffic from the north on Wanda Lee Way going west onto East Jackson Boulevard will be required to yield to traffic. Left turns at the intersection will be restricted.

• No parking areas: The Board approved new no parking designations for three city streets. Parking will no longer be allowed on the west and south sides of Jona Gold Court, on the south side of Cortland Drive and on both sides of Wanda Lee Way.

• Rezoning: The Board approved city staff to prepare an application to rezone certain properties in the 2500 to 2800 blocks of East Jackson Boulevard, the 2500 to 2700 blocks of Hilltop Drive and the 1300 and 2800 blocks of Clover Drive.

The Board had previously discussed rezoning three properties at the intersection of East Jackson Boulevard and Hilltop Drive that were zoned residential but were commercial in use (Swinford & Associates, Lee Chiropractic Center and Senior Health Care Benefits).

After further review, 11 properties were proposed to have zoning changes in the area, including three homes on Clover Drive that are currently zoned industrial, three properties on the East Jackson Boulevard that have split zoning and two properties on Hilltop Drive that are now inconsistent with surrounding zoning.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will study the proposal, hold a public hearing and return a recommendation to the board. Affected property owners will be contacted.

• Appointment: The Board approved the mayor’s appointment of David Seabaugh to the Park Board, filling an unexpired term ending May 2021.

• Rejected quick claim deed: The Board voted to reject a quick claim deed by Nabors Construction for the right-of-way of the non-city street Oak Creek Drive.

• Vacate public alley: The Board discussed a request to vacate a public alley in Weltecke’s Addition. The 130-foot-long alley currently extends from Elm St. to the rear property line of 213 North Union Ave. A public hearing is expected to be set next meeting for Nov. 2.

Rodney Bollinger, director of administrative services for the City, said the 20-foot-wide alley is unused by the City and there are no objections from City staff to vacate the alley. He added that it dates back to the 1896 and would most likely be divided to the adjacent properties, if terminated.

• Electronic recycling: The Board was given the renewal agreement with Midwest Recycling Center (MRC) to continue the City’s electronic recycling services contract. The City has had a contract with MRC for the last five years to recycle electronic consumer byproducts on a daily basis and at the city’s annual E-cycle event.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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