River Campus area to be rezoned

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Cape Girardeau City Council breezed through an agenda Monday that included selection of an engineer for the new aquatic center, the rezoning of a substantial area around the River Campus and a small tax increase.

In addition, the council approved plans for adding a left-turn option for motorists trying to reach the shopping area at William Street and Kingshighway from the west and a contract for about $850,000 worth of street repairs.

All of the actions were approved without dissent.

Markey and Associates of Kennesaw, Ga., will be paid $448,000 to design and oversee construction of the Family Aquatic Center and for the expanded Osage Community Centre next to the water park. The contract calls for a soft opening of the aquatic center by May 15, 2010, but Mayor Jay Knudtson asked parks director Dan Muser to urge a faster completion. Knudtson noted that he and councilmembers Charles Herbst and Marcia Ritter will be forced off the council by term limits in April 2010. "We'd like to stand in front of that pool and cut that ribbon," he said.

Muser said the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will soon consider proposals from engineers to direct several more parks projects financed by a new sales tax.

Details of the other major council items approved Monday evening include:

* Approval of a plan to rezone all the property designated M-1 light manufacturing in a five-square-block area adjacent to the River Campus. The property will now be zoned C-3, or downtown commercial district, a designation that will make business development uniform through much of the downtown area and allow for the construction of new residential properties without a variance.

* Approval of a 1.3 percent increase in the city's general revenue property tax and a 1.25 percent increase in the public health tax. The tax increases are allowed by law to make up for a 7.9 percent drop in the assessed value of personal property, which includes automobiles and manufacturing equipment. The city lost $8 million in personal property values in 2008, with about half the decline attributed to the closing of the Dana Corp. plant. John Richbourg, the city finance director, said he was unsure about the rest of the lost value.

* Designating the intersection of William Street and West End Boulevard for resurfacing as part of the city's annual overlay program. The new asphalt will run from Park Avenue to Louisiana Avenue. Other projects include asphalt overlays on parking lots at Shawnee Park and street improvements in 13 other locations.

* Approved a $54,494 contract with Fronabarger Concreters of Oak Ridge to install a left-turn lane from William Street onto Leming Lane, making it possible to reach businesses such as Schnuck's, Dairy Queen and Jimmi's Restaurant & Bar from eastbound William Street traffic.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611 extension 126

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