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The Next Boom: Officials see Rogersville as next SWMO town primed for development

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Earth is moving 20 miles east of Springfield in an area officials have deemed the next market primed for development in southwest Missouri.

In Rogersville, developments are bringing rooftops to the city, a move town officials expect to spur commercial development and municipal revenue.

“You get commercial when you get rooftops, and our rooftops haven’t been significant enough for people to go, ‘Gosh, I want to go out there,’” said Jon Hill, mayor of the town of roughly 3,800 people. 
 
If you build it
Rooftops are on the way.

Morelock Builders & Associates Inc. is working on a $100 million residential development on 42 acres dubbed Logan Estates Community. North of Citizens Bank of Rogersville along U.S. Highway 60, crews are moving dirt and constructing a 72-unit apartment complex, 40 multifamily housing units, 35 single-family homes and 20 units for residents over 55 years of age.

“When we looked at opportunities for development in and around Springfield, it became obvious that, given the proximity, there had been an overlooked market,” said Wayne Morelock, owner of Morelock Builders. “Rogersville at this point is really east Springfield.”

Morelock plans to be developing Logan Estates for the next three to four years. The apartments are slated first, in about eight months, he said, followed by the 55-plus units within 12 months. The single-family lots should be available in the next 90 days. 

Morelock said the company purchased the land 12 years ago, and the acreage already had all utilities accessible.

Buxton Kubik Dodd Design Collective and Marshall Waters Woody and Associates Inc. were hired for architecture work.

Morelock said there are 9 acres planned for commercial use on the southwest corner of the development along Main Street, potentially a convenience store to start.

Other Rogersville projects in the works include The Villas of Rogersville, WoodLand Hills and the Copper Rock nursing home.

The 100-acre WoodLand Hills, developed by Ben Lampert, is designed to comprise 13 commercial lots and three phases of residences totaling 120 lots, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. The 45-acre commercial portion west of Mercy Clinic Family Medicine, 199 Johnstown Drive, began in February and is scheduled to be completed in the next couple of years.

The Copper Rock development is another long-term project.

“It’s a much bigger development than what you’re seeing now,” said Rogersville City Administrator Chad Bybee.

The $23 million project by Willow Health Care Inc. is coming in phases, with a full nursing home, 12-bed memory care unit, 30 short-term rehabilitation units and a therapy room as the first phase and an assisted living facility called The Lodge at Copper Rock in the second phase. Copper Rock initially was scheduled to open in late 2018 but development was delayed, according to past SBJ reporting.

“Copper Rock, we’re tickled to have. We’re looking at probably 100 to 120 jobs,” Hill said, adding it’s planned to open in mid-August.

Hill is banking on residents to follow the developments.

“I would anticipate, in the next 18 to 24 months, a 25% growth in population,” he said. “I want to grow, but I want to grow in a logical way.”

Courting business
One company is planning to establish a presence in Rogersville.

Rost Ready Mix Inc. is slated to start construction of a concrete plant in the next few weeks with a targeted January 2020 opening, said Derek Strickland, operations manager.

At the corner of U.S highways 125 and 60, across from Harmony Baptist Church, the plant will employ around 10 to start.

“As Rogersville grows, we plan to grow as well,” Strickland said.

Plans call for a 3,000-square-foot batch plant for concrete formation and a 1,200-square-foot chemical room, Strickland said, declining to disclose project costs. Rost Ready Mix already operates in Marshfield.

“It will help us service our existing customers,” Strickland said. “We feel Rogersville is going to be the next place to boom.”

One event helping put Rogersville on the map is the Light The Way Ministry festival.

Held on July 13-14, Gov. Mike Parson was present, along with 41,000 attendees journeying to Rogersville for the two-day event. It was the event’s first time in Rogersville after previously being held at Lake of the Ozarks and Stockton.

“They moved here because they had run out of space,” Hill said.
 
Search is on
Rogersville still has needs, officials say.

Planning and Zoning Director Jeff Lee said sit-down restaurants are a top request from residents. Hill said the city could use an 80- to 100-room hotel. Currently, among the restaurants in Rogersville is Harvest Restaurant, Skinner’s Ribs & BBQ, The Garden Tea Room and Cozumel Mexican Restaurant. The town does not have a hotel, and the nearest properties are a Super 8 in Strafford and a Hampton Inn in Springfield.

“We’re all about small business and we love the businesses we have, but we do need to add more to our city to create more revenue for expansion of the Public Works Department, Police Department and to maintain our infrastructure we have,” Bybee said.  

Lee said the town’s comprehensive plan is due for an update.

Budgeting is another challenge for Rogersville officials, with Hill referring to the city’s $1.3 million operating budget being “in an iron lung.” 

Hill said they’re looking to work with someone in municipal economic development and planning.

“We have to be cautious how we spend our money, so instead of hiring a person we might work out a contract,” he said. “We need expertise and that’s what we’ve been looking at. That will help us a lot.”

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