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Aldermen take some action on replacing low water bridges

The Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen took steps Sept. 9 to begin the replacement of two dangerous low-water bridges over Hubble Creek in City Park.

A 5-year-old girl and her 11-year-old rescuer nearly drowned earlier this year at Hubble ford in the middle of the park when the girl fell from the bridge into the creek. And twice in the past year, pickup trucks have been swept from the Mary Street bridge during flash flooding.

The Board of Aldermen last Wednesday authorized Smith & Co. Engineers of Poplar Bluff to be the engineers for the Hubble Ford Low Water Crossing Replacement Project. The cost will be $36,000. A new one-lane bridge will be designed. It will go out for bid within a year.

The construction cost for Hubble ford is expected to be between $300,000 and $400,000. This project has the higher priority of the two bridges and will be completed first.

In study session, the Board discussed hiring Cochraine Engineering to design a new bridge at Mary Street. Engineering costs for that bridge, from the point of acquiring permits to sending the project out to bid are expected to be $96,748. Engineering costs for the construction phase are expected to run another $72,561. The construction costs of the new bridge are expected to be about $700,000 and could be included in the 2022 city budget.

The City is applying for grants to help pay the cost of replacing these two bridges. If the City should receive a grant, construction on both bridges could be completed sooner.

Instead of rushing ahead with acquiring engineering plans for the Mary Street bridge, which is so far in the future, Alderman Larry Cunningham suggested they wait two weeks and discuss the matter again at the next Board of Aldermen meeting. By then, staff may know if Jackson has been invited to apply for a grant that the City has an interest in receiving.

Mayor Dwain Hahs added that he would like to see a time line for the projects.

The matter will be discussed again in study session Sept. 21.

In other action

• Appointment: The Board approved the mayor’s appointment of Chris Hartlein to the Planning and Zoning Commission to fill an unexpired term ending in 2022.

• Depository agreement: the Board authorized the mayor to sign a depository agreement with Alliance Bank.

• Emergency Operations Plan: The Board authorized an agreement with the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission to update the City’s Emergency Operations Plan. Although revisions are added on a regular basis, a complete update is done about once a decade.

The total cost of the update will be $12,000; half of which will be paid by the City, and half will be paid out of CARES Act funds.

• Water system: The Board took several actions regarding the Water System Facility Plan Implementation Project, Phase 2, project 2B, continuing the replacement of a water main on Old Cape Road.

The low bid of $747,909 was accepted from Jokerst Inc., of Ste. Genevieve, and a contract was authorized. Temporary construction easement deeds were accepted from REL Rental, LLC and Donna Johannes Schuette Revocable trust.

Strickland Engineering, Inc., of Jackson was approved to provide inspection services for the project.

• Electric line extension: Reinhold Electric, Inc. of St. Louis was selected for work on the South Farmington Road Electric Line Extension Project with a low bid of $569,577.75.

• Industrial Park: A preliminary plat for the Jackson North Industrial Park Subdivision, as submitted by the City of Jackson, was approved.

• Wastewater building roof repair: The Board accepted the low bid of $9,120 from Advanced Roof Coating, LLC, of Advance, to repair the roofs of the Wastewater Filter Building and the Stormwater Pump Building at the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

• Traffic signal maintenance: The Board authorized Koch Electric, Inc., of Scott City to maintain the new traffic signal at East Main Street and Oak Hill Road. The company currently maintains city traffic lights at East Main and Lacey streets and East Main Street at Old Orchard Road.

• Sanitary sewer: The aldermen accepted two dedications of a sanitary sewer easement deeds; one from the McKendree Chapel Memorial Assn. and one from the City of Jackson relative to the Williams Creek Sanitary Sewer Extension Project, Phase 2.

This project will provide sewer lines to a new subdivision off Old Orchard Road (eliminating a lift station there) and make sewer available to any new developments that may be built on East Main Street near I-55.

• Flashing signal: The Flashing Signals Schedule was amended to include South Old Orchard Road at Fire Station No. 2.

• I-55 access: The mayor informed the Board that head-to-head traffic on Hwy. 61 between Cape and Jackson has moved to the new pavement that will be the two westbound lanes of Hwy. 61 when construction is completed. This change means there is now access onto northbound I-55 at Exit 99, and it is now possible to exit southbound I-55 at the same exit and turn right into Jackson. Those two I-55 access ramps have been closed since April 8.

• History Center: Carla Jordan of the Cape Girardeau County History Center thanked the City of Jackson for its support, and gave an update on the Research Annex, which has been added at 110 S. High St. “It’s absolutely beautiful,” she said.

The History Center used space in City Hall to process an important collection of historical documents because there wasn’t room in the History Center. This “planted the seed” for expansion and the History Center then “went out on a limb” and acquired the Annex, which is only 20 steps away from its current site on high Street.

The community has donated many historical furnishings for the Annex.

“I think that we are on the road to [becoming] one of the best regional historical societies in a small region in the United States,” she said.

• Parking on Farmington: During study session, the aldermen discussed the repeal of parking on the east side of North Farmington Road from East Main St. to Washington St.

Bob Uren, the owner of a rental home on the corner of East Main Street and Farmington, said it would make it hard to rent the home if there is no street parking in front of it. However, he could agree to eliminating parking between East Main Street and the driveway if parking is allowed on the north side of the driveway.

The City will consider this change and have further discussions at a future meeting. The goal is to find a way to improve traffic flow on North Farmington Road during certain times of the day when traffic backs up at that stop sign.

• Sewer connections: After hearing the saga of Jackson resident Mike Massey, who had 6 to 8 inches of sewer water back up into his basement during a terrible rainstorm July 31, the aldermen discussed revisions to the building sewer and connection policy. Lateral sewer lines from homes to the city sewer lines are the responsibility of homeowners to maintain. The connection to the sewer line (called a “tap” or a “Y” connection) has also been the responsibility of the homeowner up to this point, but City staff is recommending that the City take responsibility for maintaining those connections.

Massey claims the city sewer line had sunk where it connects to his lateral line. This may or may not have caused the backup of sewage into his home.

Massey said he did nothing to cause the flood of sewage into his basement. It was neither his fault nor the fault of his home. He sent a claim to the city’s insurance company, MIRMA, and his claim has been denied three times. He was told that the City was not negligent; the flood of sewage was apparently related to the torrential rain and was relegated as an “act of God.”

Massey has accumulated $6,459 in receipts for work done to repair his home so far, and he asked the City for help. The aldermen’s response was to request from MIRMA a detailed letter explaining the denial of the claim.

• Columbaria addition: The Board was asked if it would support the idea of adding more columbaria to Russell Heights Cemetery. The plan for Phase 2 is to add three single and two double columbaria for a total of 480 niches. There is a concern that if they wait too long to do Phase 2, the granite will not match the columbaria which were installed in Phase 1.

The Board of Aldermen will take official action at a future meeting.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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