Work is finally under way on the massive renovation of the Main and Malone location to make way for a new Walgreens complex. Long in the discussion, the City Council gave final approval to the development plan this week and the bulldozers immediately began their work. We'll be able to see visible daily progress on the site in the coming months. In the end, the work will change the face of Sikeston's most heavily-traveled intersection.
The development plan also calls for a new traffic light at Lake and North Main streets to allow improved traffic flow into and out of the Walgreens business development. Many within the community have questioned the thinking behind this new proposed traffic light. One fear is that traffic congestion will be a nightmare between the Malone, Lake and Tanner streets trio of lights. I had assumed that a public hearing might well be planned to discuss the proposed light. One businessman has already voiced strong concerns for the plan and many other residents have questioned our newspaper on rumors of the light.
Developers of the new business district have apparently said the lack of a new light on Lake Street would be a "deal killer" for the Walgreens development. And since North Main Street is under the jurisdiction of the Missouri Department of Transportation, apparently the decision falls into their laps. In the end, the new light may not be the nightmare that some believe. But without some additional public discussion the decision may leave a bit of a bitter taste for those who have concerns.
Meanwhile, take a trip along Kingshighway and Malone downtown and see the massive new developments in the works. Demolition has been under way for a couple of weeks at two downtown sites that have long been eyesores. The developers of these two locations have improvement plans in the works and, given a bit more time, the face of downtown Sikeston will take a very positive turn.
No progress but ample discussion is floating around concerning the proposed changes at the former Village Green development that housed the Big Lot store and others. A developer has purchased the site and has some big plans. Thus far, those plans have not been set in motion but hopefully that area will soon see an upgrade as well.
And finally, the coffee shop discussion is focused on the Sikeston Public School's plans for an impressive renovation and construction plan for virtually every public school in our community. It appears that the school will ask voters to approve a plan that upgrades existing buildings and construct some new school facilities. It's premature to discuss in detail what the school is proposing but given some early details, it would change the face of public education here more than any change in the past 40 years. The prospects are very exciting.
All in all - especially combined with the ongoing efforts of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority - Sikeston is showing signs of growth and progress. If all goes according to plan, one year from right about now could see some of the greatest progress in our community literally in decades.
If that won't excite you, nothing will!