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Changes may be coming to West Main Street to improve pedestrian safety

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Pedestrians may find crossing West Main Street easier as the City of Jackson pursues a grant to fund a Main Street Corridor Pedestrian Safety Study.

The Mayor and Board of Aldermen authorized a Traffic Engineering Assistance Program (TEAP) agreement with the State of Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission on Dec. 5.

The City was awarded a TEAP grant for the study of Main Street from West Jackson Boulevard to Hope Street. The purpose of the study is to identify possible solutions to improve the safety of pedestrians traveling along and crossing Main Street.

TEAP funds allow local public agencies to receive engineering assistance for studying traffic engineering problems such as pedestrian safety. TEAP funds can cover up to 80% of a project cost, up to $12,000.

Eventually, West Main Street could have a look similar to Broadway in Cape Girardeau, with emphasis placed on sidewalks and crosswalks.

In other action

• Water system: A change order was approved in the amount of $12,921.53 to Fronabarger Concreters, Inc., of Oak Ridge for work on the Water System Facility Plan Implementation Project – Phase 2, Project 2C. The change reflects final quantities for the project.

• Underground facilities locating: A contract with Precise Target Locating of Cape Girardeau was renewed. The ticket price increased $1 from $35 to $36 (a 2.9% increase) for the term ending June 30, 2023. The contract allows five annual renewals, and increases in costs are allowed up to that year’s consumer price index, but not more than 5%.

Tickets are written up for each job the company performs, as it locates underground facilities, such as buried utilities, for the City. Other costs remained the same. (Other charges included in the contract are $45 for emergency after-hours locates, an extended footage fee of 25¢ per lineal foot outside of the 200-foot normal locate radius, and a $30 charge for site surveillance if requested by the owner.)

• Easement deed: The aldermen accepted the dedication of a utility easement deed from Waste Connections of Missouri, Inc., for the Lee Avenue Water Line Extension Project.

• Restroom heating: The aldermen approved a $6,000 task order to Strickland Engineering of Jackson for providing engineering and architectural services on the Brookside Park and Soccer Park restroom heating project.

• Requesting state funds for tourism: A resolution was approved supporting the application to the State of Missouri Department of Economic Development ARPA Community Revitalization Grant Program for funding to be used by the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce and the Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization in their efforts to develop, renovate and enhance local tourism assets.

• Economic development: During study session, Mayor Dwain Hahs suggested that the City of Jackson dedicate $1 million of its unrestricted reserves (about 10%) to be used for economic development so it would be available if it is ever needed.

Hahs said he got the idea from the City of Chesterfeld, which has seven different reserve funds. City Attorney Curtis Poore will write up an ordinance for the aldermen to examine at a future meeting.

• Retail market analysis: Brian Gerau, president of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, gave an update on retail marketing.

In 2021, Jackson issued about 20 business licenses. In 2022, there have been 34 issued. “Going from 20 to 34 is quite a positive jump,” Gerau added.

Businesses are being recruited for four main locations in Jackson: Exit 102, Exit 99, East Main and Jackson Boulevard. “Exit 102 and 99 have been our biggest marketable areas,” he said. A lot of business leaders and community people would like to see Exit 102 developed with gas stations or truck stops. “We have approached four or five different truck stops (to move there). We have got a little bit of traction there, but nothing [definite] yet. We’ve also been in contact with convenience stores for out there. Exit 102 is high priority on our retail report,” re said.

Gerau has been working with MoDOT to help develop the area at Exit 99 near the I-55 Diverging Diamond Interchange. “There are a lot of different property owners to deal with there,” Gerau said. MoDOT is surveying plats and working on title searches. The goal is to market and sell the properties at Exit 99 next summer, he said.

Gerau is working with the Lichteneggers to find tenants for a development on East Main Street, across from Domino’s Pizza. That building is still under construction.

Gerau said everyone in Jackson wants restaurants, so he has worked to recruit restaurants. However, restaurant owners want existing buildings that have drive-thru lanes, and there are none available in Jackson. “When a restaurant does come up for sale, we jump all over it and make sure we showcase that,” he said.

Gerau has also been in contract with athletic retailers, trying to get them to come to Jackson. He has also been in contact with grocers, and may hear something in 2023, but he doesn’t know if it will be early in 2023 or late in the year.

The retail developer position has been vacant since June, when Jen Berti left. With no one in the position, the City and the Chamber have saved some money by not paying a salary for that vacant position.

• Personnel Policies & Procedures Manual: During study session, the aldermen again discussed the City’s Personnel Policies & Procedures Manual. The manual came before the aldermen for approval at its next meeting on Dec. 19.

New hires will accumulate 1.5 hours of vacation time per pay period, up to 39 hours in the first year. This will give them some flexibility to take time off with pay if emergencies arise.

After one year, they will get 40 hours, and after two years, they will get 80 hours.

If hired after July 1, 2020, new hires will reach their anniversary on their actual anniversary date. Employees hired prior to that date have their anniversaries on either Jan. 1 or July 1, depending upon which half of the year they were hired.

Emergency leave for medical emergencies was increased from two to five days a year.

Juneteenth was added as a holiday, giving employees 10 paid holidays a year, plus two other paid days off (birthdays and the Friday after Thanksgiving) for a total of 12 paid days off.

• Electricity in Uptown: The aldermen discussed making more electricity available in Uptown Jackson for events such as Homecomers and Oktoberfest. City workers will move forward with Phase 1 improvements. Phase 2 will continue to be studied.

• Park restroom: Parks & Recreation Director Jason Lipe reported that a low bid of $322,477 was received from Nip Kelley to replace the Union Avenue Restroom No. 1 in Jackson City Park. The low bid came in 6.4% under the engineer’s estimate. The matter will go back to the Park Board for final approval before coming to the aldermen for their approval. The new restroom will be similar to the restroom on Parkview; it will be heated and open all year.

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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