Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Council approves Buehler Park master plan

Managing Editor

With nary a no vote, the Rolla City Council Wednesday night approved a resolution affirming its support of the Buehler Park  Master Plan that includes a dog park.
No roll call vote was cast on the resolution, but the room was quiet when Mayor Lou Magdits IV called for opposing votes.
Eleven councilmen were present. Missing was Ward 3 Councilman David Schott, who in previous meetings had posed questions about building a dog park in Buehler Park. Schott would have been there if the council had met on its regular night, Monday, but the council reset the meeting because some members had indicated a desire to take a long Independence Day holiday weekend; Schott had rearranged his schedule, taking off Wednesday for a trip rather than Monday, thinking the council meeting would be held on its regular schedule.
Instead, he sent a letter that was read by Mayor Magdits prior to the vote. In that letter, he said the Buehler Park site makes perfect sense if the purpose of the dog park is to show hospitality to travelers who stop in Rolla to rest and eat. A different site, one with more available property and nearer to residential areas, would make perfect sense if the purpose of the dog park is to serve local residents and taxpayers.
Schott acknowledged that both purposes have benefits.
The dog park is one improvement proposed in the master plan for the 3.2-acre park on the west side of the city near where the Westside Marketplace will be built.
A few other improvements are new playground equipment, bathrooms, water line, electric upgrades for the pavilion, fence along Kingshighway and walking trail around the park.
In other business or discussion:
* The council heard about a plan to turn Pine Street into one one-way lane with angled parking spaces on both sides. Currently it has two one-way lanes with parallel parking spaces on both sides. City Administrator John Butz said the Rolla Downtown Business Association members like the idea, and he asked council members to think about the change.
* The annual city audit report was presented by Tammy Alsop, representing Hochschild, Bloom & Co. LLC, CPAs. Alsop said the audit shows the financial statements to be accurate and the auditors gave the city the highest ranking for its records.
* By an 11-1 vote, the council approved an ordinance on plugging of existing wells. Councilman John Meusch, Ward 4, voted against it.
* Unanimously, the council approved an ordinance to disallow parking on the short stretch of Elm Street between IHOP and Breaktime, which are on US 63.
* Also unanimously, the council approved an ordinance allowing a contract with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for the construction of handicapped walkways.
* No action was taken, but the council heard a report from Nell Davis, a Missouri University of Science and Technology student who is an intern for the Public Works Department, on a Complete Streets Policy. The council will take time to study the policy before voting, possibly at the next meeting this month.
* First reading of an ordinance was heard that if approved would set up an agreement between the city and the College Hills West Sewer District.
* Heard on first and passed on final reading was an ordinance allowing a contract with McConnell and Associations for tennis court improvements. The council took similar action last meeting, but City Counselor Carolyn Buschjost further reviewed the documents, found she had questions and made changes that both the company and the city agreed to support.
* Mayor Magdits appointed, and the council ratified, the following people: Monte Shields to another term on the Planning and Zoning Commission; Dr. Janece Martin to another term on the P&Z commission, and Terry Harris to the Tax Increment Finance Commission.
*Mayor Magdits noted the Transportation Development District Board had met earlier in the day and had authorized distribution of money, including reimbursement to the city for certain actions previously taken.

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