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CITY COUNCIL MEETING 08/11/14 (LIV 274 Bridge, Zoning Codes, Airport Grant, Hospital Demo Schedule, 2014 Tax Levy, Livable Streets Update)

The city of Chillicothe plans to pursue removing an old wooden bridge over the railroad tracks on LIV 274 near Lowe's Acres and replacing it with a low-grade crossing. The city closed the bridge last month for safety reasons when it was discovered that a main support beam had split in half.

Street Superintendent Barry Arthur told council members that the bridge, estimated to be at least 50 years old, has a 9-ton load limit and it was likely that a heavier load crossing the bridge caused the damage. City Administrator Ike Holland said the city could pursue repairing the bridge, building a new bridge, or removing the bridge. He noted tht the city owns the bridge as well as the railroad and that the MoDOT railroad administration has up to $250,000 available that could be used to assist the city with certain expenses regarding the crossing, such as signage. It was noted much of the dirt work for the project could be handled by the street department. Frank Thompson, representing Chillicothe Township, said he was in favor of having the bridge removed and said the township would be willing to provide assistance where possible. It is anticipated that MoDOT's railroad administration will have an engineer visit the site and discuss options with the city.

In other business, the council approved an ordinance amending zoning codes regarding height requirements of buildings, approved City Clerk Roze Frampton's request to abate delinquent taxes, and were introduced to new police officer Dallas Steeby. Also Monday, the council heard a report from Police Chief Rick Knouse and watched a PowerPoint presentation about the police department. The council also approved an ordinance amending an airport grant for land acquisition, discussed the old hospital demolition schedule, and heard a presentation by Administrator Holland regarding a livable streets program.

Mayor Chuck Haney presided over Monday's council meeting with council members David Moore, Reed Dupy, Tom Douglas and Paul Howard in attendance. Councilman Wayne Cunningham was absent.

City Approves 2014 Tax Levy
Chillicothe's 2014 general tax levy for real and personal property has been set slightly higher than last year's rate with the new rate reflecting a 0.0076-cent increase over 2013. The city conducted a a public hearing during its regular council meeting to set the new rate. The rate was determined by computations from the state auditor's office. No one spoke in opposition of the proposed rate. With its approval, the general tax levy for real and personal property will be 0.6857 per $100 of assessed valuation. The parks tax levy for real and personal property for 2014 will be 0.1928 per $100 assessed valuation. The new rates will increase the city's property tax revenues by approximately $2,882. The auditor stated that the city's assessed valuation is less this year compared to last year.

Holland Envisions Livable Streets in Chillicothe
CT Friday, August 15, 2014
For more information about Livable Streets, visit http://www.livablestreets.info/.

The Livable Streets program is a nation-wide program that City Administrator Ike Holland is trying to bring to Chillicothe. There are believed to be many benefits of adopting the Livable Streets program which include: Improving public safety, promoting good health, providing economic benefits, enhancing environmental quality and ensuring long-term savings. Holland said this program should be important to the community because it will improve the safety of its citizens through adequate crosswalks, proper signage and medians; allowing disabled people to have access to downtown and schools; and for people to be able to walk to school, the library, or even the grocery store safely. Holland envisions having a sidewalk that runs from the high school all the way to McDonald's in the future. So far, a sidewalk has been placed from the high school to Washington Street. Next would be a sidewalk to link to the hospital and then up to Simpson Park and then adding a crosswalk between the YMCA and Simpson Park. A meeting has been scheduled for October where the city will talk about adding signage around Chillicothe directing people to places like the hospital, museum, high school, football stadium, parks, and government buildings. This sign movement is being made possible through the MoDOT WayFinder program which goes hand in hand with the Livable Streets program. A budget is being discussed for the 2015 fiscal year.

City Discusses Hospital Demolition Plans
Thursday, August 14, 2014, CT

The former Hedrick Medical Center has been vacant for several months and city officials are reviewing a proposed timeline for demolition of the old hospital and several city-owned houses located near that facility. City administrator Ike Holland presented a demo plan during the council meeting's regular meeting this week, outlining a timeframe and raising questions as to the scope of the project. "The goal is to start in March and have it done by September," Holland said. According to the outline, the city expects to complete the sale of remaining items from the old hospital this month.

The administrator announced that the city just recently sold a portable generator for $26,000. By month's end, the city anticipates having inspectors hired to assess the presence of asbestos and hazardous materials and then make a bid recommendation for a mitigation team to remove the materials. Along with the hospital building, the city plans to have four city-owned houses located near the facility demolished well. Holland asked the council whether they would support a proposal of private individuals purchasing any of the houses and moving them off the property. He said there had been an inquiry from one person asking about the removal of a house. The council was in agreement that the city should put the properties out to bid for removal before proceeding with demolition. Most of the council members agreed that the houses should be removed, citing that each needed significant repair and that their removal would make the overall property more attractive for future development. Fourth Ward Councilman Paul Howard stated he would rather see the houses sold as opposed to being demolished. The council also agreed that the hospital parking lots should be left in place up to a certain point depending upon interest from prospective buyers. Once the demolition project is complete, the property will be put up for sale.

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