Feb. 22—An extensive list of proposed action plans for community needs that city leaders want to address as well as proposals for Memorial Hall, parks and the former library building will be outlined at a work session Monday of the Joplin City Council.
The meeting had been planned for Feb. 8 but was postponed because of the weather.
A 400-page report, titled "Joplin Strategic Priorities," contains action plans compiled by city staff to address six goals that the City Council identified in November as priorities for community improvement. The goals resulted from a listening tour and surveys of residents conducted by the city manager.
The six goals are to address declining neighborhoods, improve community appearance including public properties maintained by the city, increase economic opportunities for all, address homelessness, reduce crime and increase safety, and create and grow resilient revenue to improve levels of services offered by the city.
Potential revenue sources to meet the goals include the existing 10-year quarter-cent parks and stormwater sales tax that would expire next year if not renewed by voters, the three-eighths-cent capital improvements sales tax, the hotel/motel tax and the public safety sales tax. Some could be increased by a small percentage but not the public safety sales tax, which is limited to specific uses.
There are other options, such as a use tax that voters have previously rejected, sales taxes designated for fire safety and economic development, as well as property and personal property taxes. Debt through general obligation bonds is one way to fund capital projects such as the renovation of Memorial Hall.
The council will consider asking the financial oversight committee to review the $25 million proposal to renovate Memorial Hall. The recommendation includes repairs of the exterior, removal of the front ramp and construction of a new entry, an overhaul of the interior, and construction of an 8,500-square-foot addition on the west side of the building adjacent to Wall Avenue.
The financial oversight committee is a group of residents who are periodically asked to review and report on the financial aspects of particular projects or city programs.
Another topic of discussion will be a review of the recently completed parks master plan and the projects that could be presented as part of the quarter-cent parks and stormwater sales tax.
The parks master plan identifies five goals that could entail $43 million in projects that could be done over the next 10 years. Funding for any of the projects selected by the city would be part of a proposal later this year to voters to renew the existing quarter-cent parks and stormwater sales tax.
At the top of the list are updates of Ewert Park that includes proposals to replace the deteriorating Ewert swimming pool with a splash park. Trail extensions and connectivity around the city also rank high on the list of potential projects.
The next steps for preparing a proposed renewal of the parks and stormwater tax will be reviewed at the meeting. Those include presenting details of parks and stormwater projects to a committee of residents appointed last week by the council. That committee will refine the list and help the city provide information to residents on any final proposal.
A list of committee-approved projects for parks and stormwater would be limited to $28.3 million, according to city documents. The quarter-cent sales tax has produced up to about $30 million in the last decade. Voters are asked to renew the tax for 10 years and last approved it in 2011. It will expire March 31, 2022.
A $10 million proposal for the use of the former downtown library building at 300 S. Main St. also is on the agenda. It entails offering business development services in cooperation with Missouri Southern State University and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and the city to establish a new small businesses and technology center. That proposal is named Project Launchpad.