CHARLESTON - Re-enactors and observers celebrating Lewis and Clark's first steps across the Mississippi River on their famous exploration of the newly-purchased territory will enjoy the benefits of freshly mowed grass.
At the regular Mississippi County Commission meeting Thursday, Liz Anderson, Mississippi County Historical Society Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Committee member, forwarded a request from committee Chairman Tom Graham for the county to mow under the old bridge near the site of the state historical marker at Birds Point in preparation for events scheduled for Nov. 19.
Anderson said the committee has not yet erected pillars from the old county courthouse at Whipple Park where they will be used as part of the visitor center there, but still plan to do so before the ceremony scheduled for Nov. 16, the date the explorers actually set foot on this side of the river 200 years ago.
In other county news:
* The christening of the new tugboat for the Dorena-Hickman Ferry is scheduled for 1 p.m. today.
Missouri Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond is expected to attend following the milestone celebration for the St. John's Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project ear New Madrid at the St. John's Bayou Outlet Structure on Highway WW and ceremonial tree planting at Big Oak State Tree Park.
Commissioners discussed possible effects the project may have on the region such as the mitigation of 7,000 acres to wetland which may no longer be subject to property taxes. Even if property taxes are paid on the land, forested land has the lowest assessed valuation possible.
"So there will be an impact tax-wise," said Martin Lucas, commissioner.
Lucas said he believes money coming into the area from things like hunting and tourism in the wetlands will eventually offset any loss in tax revenue.
* A transfer from the general revenue fund to the road and bridge fund was approved by commissioners for the purchase of an oil distributor and sweeper. The transfer will also be for the purchase of a pneumatic rubber-tired roller which officials have yet to find.
Together with a rock spreader purchased earlier this year, the equipment will be used to implement a "chip and seal" blacktop preservation program next year.
* A hay-for-mowing trade at the county airport is working out fine, commissioners agreed.
"I think its a good deal for us," said Lucas.
"It saves us money," agreed Commissioners Homer Oliver, recalling the last time the county crews mowed around the airport they ended up damaging some of the airport's lights.
Commissioners estimated the value of the hay harvested from county land around the airport at about $500.