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Plumbing and electrical rough-ins are under
way at the site of the new elementary school.
C-T Photo 02/07/17

By Mayor Chuck Haney


It may be the first week of February, and the weather has been like a bouncing ball going from the 50's to the teens, but our city departments were all working together to get work done on winter days and prepare for another busy Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Department Heads learned that at the last department head meeting, and all department employees found there is more than budget planning going on right now. Several times during the department head meetings (as each department head gave a review of what they had been doing and what was left to do), compliments rolled out in multiple numbers. Several department heads said how much they appreciated the extra help on numerous projects that came from Street Commissioner Barry Arthur and his street department crew, but there were others who echoed the same message.

First of all, we are blessed as a city with excellent leadership and that begins at the top with department heads who answer to and work for the city administrator and city council. Cooperation on numerous projects over the past few years has been outstanding. Just wanted to get that in right at the beginning.

Holiday lights and decorations came down in the park from mid-January to date. It is a little sad after more than a month to see the downtown areas minus the lighted snow flakes; the holiday lights on the buildings go dark, and window decorations come down.

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All during most of those cold and ice days we had as well as during two minor snow events, work continued at the old prison site on west Third. To drive by what we once knew as the correctional center and before that The Industrial Home for Girls is a completely different site today. In fact, with the old fence and buildings down and the trees now being trimmed, the rolling terrain looks pretty sharp.

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The next step for the city is talking and planning on what to do with the 38-acre site. One building remains for the time being. City Administrator Ike Holland has been meeting with Codes' Officer Chuck Greever on mapping the old prison and has told the city council members it is time to put together something for future planning of the property. There already has been one inquiry about the property.

The old prison property across the street on the north was sold right after the old prison moved out, and someone is leasing the former administration building. The owner has future plans to put up more homes on the property to join the two already there at the northwest corner.

While dirt work and tree trimming gets 100 percent complete at the old prison grounds, the first construction meeting for the new airport hanger and building that will house LifeFlight operations by the first of June have been altered slightly, and it may be a late summer date rather that a June date for LifeFlight to move its operation to our airport from the present location in Trenton. The plan is to start moving dirt at the municipal airport this week. The building will not be delivered until sometime in April. Administrator Holland said they are working on the natural gas versus propane option, and he is planning to bring that information to the city council once a cost analysis is complete.

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Meanwhile, the budget planning goes forward. Mr. Holland has held a meeting with department heads and employees on the city evaluation form for employees. Holland plans to hold another meeting with fire department employees since they were called out on a fire during the meeting held at the station recently. Holland said the city is looking at changing the form to make it more relevant and user friendly and that new proposed form will go before the city council soon.

The city will hear from several organizations and groups - the YMCA, Summer Playground, Main Street, Chamber of Commerce, Extension, and others - in regard to city assistance for their programs.

The city council will hold one to two workshops in regard to the 2017-18 budget which must be approved and in operation by 12:01 a.m. March 1, 2017. The mayor and city council as well as the administrator, city clerk, and city auditor will have a joint meeting with Chillicothe Municipal Utilities on March 22 at 11:30.

In addition to what I have described in this month's column and the budget work, other projects in the works include bids going out for the city hall project. Holland said that the engineers will be bidding out the city hall brick structure built in 1929 after fire destroyed the previous building on the same site. Holland said the city hall project should start in the next 60 days.

And, as of January 1, 2017, the city has turned the operation of the city-owned 18-hole public golf course and the city-owned 24-lane bowling lanes to Greatlife. The management group will be coming to a city council meeting this month to provide an update on the transition and the changes that have been. The city will continue to own and have a lease with Jerseys Sports Grill and Celebrations Event Hall that are within the family fun center.

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I presented a plaque at last week's council meeting to a longtime friend Don Overton (above) who spent a combined 19 years serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Adjustments. Two other persons were to be recognized but were sick and unable to attend. Their plaques will be presented at a later date.

City Hall will be closed for President's Holiday on February 20.

Enjoy your city and spend your dollars with our local merchants.

I have already told you more than I know.

Mayor Haney's "Around Our Town" column is available in the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune newspaper the first week of each month. His additional columns, "On the Street", are also available in the newspaper weekly.

Mayor Haney on Ingram's list of 50 Missourians You Should Know (March 27, 2013)

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