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by Steven Diegel

Only a few issues were discussed at the Feb. 2 City Council meeting, allowing council members to conclude the evening's business early and contemplate Feb. 3's city elections.

Council members began the meeting with discussion over a resolution to annex more than 51 acres of land on the south side of Springfield, generally located in the 4700 block of South Campbell Avenue. City officials said they are responding to the demands of area property owners who have called for action.

"The property owners have requested (the annexation)," according to Gerald Montgomery, associate planner for the city of Springfield. He said that owners and developers of the area can enjoy a number of benefits from the city, including sewer access and fire and police protection.

The city should also welcome the addition, which will allow officials to guide residential and commercial growth to the south, and enjoy expected benefits as a result of that growth, he added.

One resident on hand did voice concerns over the future of an endangered species of bat and the natural setting of the property in question. He felt it would best serve as a buffer for the city not as land for potential future commercial development.

"Let's do something positive with this small piece of the natural world," said resident Herb Overstreet. "Let's protect this living museum."

The council also heard first discussion on a motion which would give city officials the final go-ahead to apply for and receive $85,000 in additional grant monies from the Missouri Department of Social Services, Division of Family Services.

The funds have been earmarked by the state to support area emergency shelters in their efforts to aid the homeless.

"This is $85,000 to be sub-granted to eligible service providers," said Kay Logsdon, public information officer for the city of Springfield.

"The city would take applications from (services) in the community to use the funds for assisting homeless persons," she added.

The city has received similar grants in the past which have in turn supported The Kitchen, the Salvation Army, Esther's Maternity Haven and the Family Violence Center, according to Logsdon, who added each organization would be eligible to re-apply for the new funds.

City Council is expected to approve

the resolution at its next scheduled meeting.

The council unanimously approved a resolution to allocate $1.9 million toward intersection improvements planned for Sunshine Street at Campbell Avenue. Hartman and Company was the low bidder on the project.

City officials hope the intersection improvements will help alleviate growing traffic congestion in the area around Bass Pro Shops.

Springfield City Manager Tom Finnie said the project will mirror recent improvements at the intersection of National Avenue and Sunshine Street, widening the dimensions of the intersection to allow for second left-turn lanes and easier right turns into the flow of traffic.

Construction on the project ÐÐ set to begin later this month should be complete by August, according to Nick Heatherly, assistant director of Public Works.

An incentive clause has been included in the contract to encourage an early completion date.

No discussion took place on the issue.

Other issues approved by council Feb. 2 included authorization of an agreement with the Paul Mueller Company, authorization of an agreement with the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission to permit placing cable in conduits for traffic control purposes, approval of six sanitary sewer districts, approval of the preliminary plat of Republic Plaza at Republic Road and Kansas Expressway, and confirmation of the appointment of William E. Kirkman to the Airport Board.

In other council business, a bill authorizing the city manager to enter into agreements with certain public educational institutions to provide educational and training services to city employees was brought up for first reading.

Also on the agenda for initial discussion were six new sanitary sewer districts and requests for approval on the preliminary plats of five developments, specifically Rivertrade Marketplace, on the east side of South Fremont along Independence Street; Independence Marketplace, on Independence between Fremont and Glenstone avenues; Morningside Manor, at the southeast corner of High Street and Delaware Avenue; Quail Run, first addition, on Nettleton Avenue between Sunset and Cambridge streets; and Kanan Subdivision, first addition, located on Evergreen Street between Glenstone and Fremont avenues.

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