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Council stalls vote on $80M list of capital projects

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Last edited 3:20 p.m., Feb. 14, 2018

Before signing off on roughly $395 million worth of capital projects through 2023, Springfield City Council will be weighing property owner support on a proposed plan to widen a roughly half-mile stretch of Fremont Avenue.

On Monday night, council voted again to defer voting on the city’s capital improvements plan, after deciding Jan. 29 to table the list of projects in an attempt to address concerns centered on a planned $2 million widening of Fremont from Sunset Street south to Battlefield Road.

Mayor Ken McClure motioned last night for the second tabling, garnering unanimous support from the dais, minus former Zone 4 Councilman Craig Fishel, who resigned Feb. 2 to seek the 136th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives.

“Projects included in this proposal were adopted by the voters overwhelmingly in the April 2016 election,” McClure noted. “We take those commitments from the voters very seriously. We also take very seriously that we want to be fair in dealing with all of the affected property owners as we go forward.”

McClure said he would work with City Manager Greg Burris to query the affected property owners, though he didn’t indicate a timeline. He couldn’t be reached this morning by deadline.

After announcing his Zone 4 council resignation on Jan. 29, Fishel failed to remove from the list of CIP projects the planned $2 million widening of Fremont to include four lanes of traffic and a 10-foot-wide bicycle lane.

Fishel said traffic has remained unchanged throughout that stretch of road and seemed to take issue with taking property on the east side of the street to complete the work.

The eastern portion of the stretch of Fremont passes Meador Park, Battlefield Mall and other businesses.

Fishel suggested the project could cost more than $2.5 million with the needed property buyouts, noting that sum could be freed for other public improvements projects.

“I feel like it’s a project that, if it’s needed, it may need to be looked at 10 years from now,” he said, “but I would like to have this project removed from that list of projects.”

Later during the Jan. 29 meeting, Councilwoman Jan Fisk opted to hold a study session on the Fremont project, rather than removing the project altogether. Fisk then moved to table the CIP for reconsideration at the next meeting. By a 6-3 vote, council supported Fisk, with council members Thomas Prater, Craig Hosmer and Kristi Fulnecky rejecting the option.

Last night, the opposition relented, with council voting 8-0 in support of again tabling the multimillion-dollar list of projects.

The list of projects include:
    •    $7.7 million to widen South Campbell Avenue into a six-lane primary arterial street from Battlefield Road to South Avenue, just north of Republic Road;
    •    $5.2 million for improvements to Central Street between Grant and Clay avenues;
    •    $4.2 million for intersection improvements at Campbell Avenue and Walnut Lawn Road;
    •    $3 million for streetscape improvements along College Street between Seventh Avenue and Ninth Avenue;
    •    $2 million to improve interconnectivity of bicycle routes, sidewalks, greenway trails and transit routes; and
    •    $1.36 million for various improvements in the 17 registered neighborhood organizations.

Council tabled the bill until its Feb. 26 meeting.

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