Consulting firm presents last part of Jackson long-range plan

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Illinois consulting firm on Wednesday presented the final section of a comprehensive plan intended to serve as a policy guide for Jackson through 2019.

During a public hearing by Jackson's zoning commission, representatives from Houseal Lavigne Associates of Naperville, Ill., touched on a variety of ideas for improvements in the city. Ideas include a substation shared between the police and fire departments, an expanded trail system and easement of traffic-flow problems.

Trevor Dick, senior associate with Houseal Lavigne, said that while the plan is complete, it can be changed in the future.

"The last thing we want is for the document to sit on the shelf and collect dust," Dick said. "We want to try to look for ways to make these recommendations happen."

Dick said that since his firm, the planning and zoning commission and the comprehensive plan committee began holding regular meetings with residents in December, traffic problems were a top concern. Suggestions for improvements include improved bus and shuttle service and solving problems in the S-bend of U.S. 61 in uptown Jackson. Options for improving the S-bend include installing a roundabout, turn lane and stoplight at Main and Hope streets.

"These problems are not uncommon in communities we work with," Dick said. "Transportation issues were something talked loudly about at just about every meeting."

Only one resident spoke during a time allotted for public comment.

Dr. Ron Anderson, superintendent of the Jackson School District, voiced concern about one of the proposals that calls for Missouri Street to be used as part of U.S. 61. Anderson said that because Missouri Street passes in front of Jackson High School it could threaten the safety of students and staff.

"We want to go on record to share with you and make sure you're aware of the complexities we'd have if this was changed to a regular kind of highway where traffic is bumper to bumper," Anderson said. "We have parents and patrons like any other business coming through here all day long.

"And that's not just 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Every night we have activities. It's quite a busy place."

Dan Gardner, principal associate with Houseal Lavigne, said using Missouri Street as a major highway is only one option in the plan.

"This plan does not state a recommendation on which option should be adopted," Gardner said. "The safety of the children and parents dropping them off is of utmost importance."

bblackwell@semissourian.com

388-3628

Pertinent address:

101 Court St., Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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