City invites comment on East Main Street extension

Monday, April 5, 2004

Residents who own property along the proposed East Main Street extension are encouraged to attend tonight's Jackson Board of Aldermen meeting to voice their concerns and questions to the board.

The city, which has struggled to secure right of way from some property owners, hopes an informal, voluntary public hearing will help clear the air on several issues.

"What we want to do is get as many property owners as we can with the city staff and council to have dialogue about what they would be gaining as far as the road and the infrastructure that goes with it, like water, sewer and electric," said Mayor Paul Sander. "We just need more dialogue and we're at the point now where we need to move this project along. We need to find out what their wishes and desires are."

The East Main Street extension is perhaps Jackson's most ambitious project. It will eventually create a new entrance into the city from Interstate 55.

But the city did not budget much money for land acquisitions, given that the landowners' property values will increase dramatically with the new road. Because this is a city-driven project, property owners will not be assessed for the improvement.

The board will likely pass a resolution tonight that would authorize Jackson to join Cape Girardeau in applying for funds for the cities to connect water systems near Center Junction.

Rodney Bollinger, Jackson's public works director, said the State Emergency Management Agency has grants available for hazard mitigation efforts.

The connection would provide both cities with an emergency backup in case one of the city's water systems shut down.

Bollinger said the move could improve Jackson's ISO rating, meaning it could translate into lower insurance rates for residents.

Each city would put in 8-inch mains. Jackson would have to provide 4,700 feet of pipe. The grant, if awarded by SEMA, would pay for 75 percent of the costs. Bollinger said the materials for Jackson would cost around $50,000 and that the city would provide the labor.


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