SIKESTON - The old Essex building is no longer just an empty facility - it is an opportunity.
During their regular meeting Monday, Sikeston City Council members accepted the donation of the Essex Electrical Products building at 1620 East Malone. The plant was closed in August 2003.
It was passed as an emergency bill to help the Essex company meet planning deadlines, according to City Counselor Charles Leible.
The deed will go to the city but Essex will have four months to access the building and remove property.
The company also agreed to fix two environmental hazards Leible described as being "relatively minor."
Mayor Mike Marshall said the facility may be used for an "incubator type business opportunity" to aid the city in bringing in new industry or business.
"I just think it's a great deal for the city," said Ed Dust, director of the city's department of economic development.
Marshall also credited Missy Marshall, executive director of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce, for playing a big part in the deal.
In other business during Monday's meeting:
* The sole bid of $11,337.50 submitted by Mid-South Steel Products of Cape Girardeau for a fuel usage tracking system was accepted by the Council.
The city's Department of Public Works needs an updated fuel system because the current system has been out of operation and placed on manual control for about three years, according to Steve Lee, street superintendent.
The new system will include a cable connection from the new fuel terminal directly to a computer located in Fire Station 1. A Windows-compatible software program and network interface kit will be installed enabling any computer within the city's network to access information as needed, Lee said.
With the new system, officials will be able to generate monthly reports with detailed breakdowns of fuel usage by personnel, vehicles, equipment and by department.
* A bill which would have amended city code to create an additional no parking zone near Matthews Elementary when school is in session was not approved.
In voting the bill down, council members followed the recommendation by the city's traffic committee which had voiced concerns about the need for off-
street parking during school hours for the residents of Courtney and Elm where the parking would have been restricted.
* A resolution for the construction of concrete curbs and gutters on Harlene Street was approved.
City Manger Doug Friend said city staff are taking the initial steps required for the project to be a tax-billed project but he is asking the adjacent property owners to pay the money up front. "If I can get 100 percent agreement, we'll just stop this process (of making it a tax-billed project) midstream," he said.
The street is currently unimproved and several property owners along the street have requested the work, according to city staff.
Staff have placed a $10 per abutting foot cost for the project. The total cost for the project, which will primarily address drainage issues, is estimated at $141,534.
* A small parcel of land created by the relocation of Ingram which is located in the city's southwest quarter was declared surplus property and will be put out for bid.
"It's really a non-buildable lot," Friend said. An adjacent property owner has already expressed an interest in the parcel, according to Friend.
* Friend said the city will publish a request for vendors to bid on this year's street program in Sunday's newspaper. Bids will be returned March 28 and should be awarded by April, Friend said.
Asked by Councilman Jim Terrell if splitting up the street program's engineering bid between two firms could be responsible for speeding up the process this year, Friend agreed "it very well may have."
* A year-end summary of the Zero Tolerance Property Maintenance Program scheduled for the meeting was moved to April.