CHARLESTON - An eyesore and public health hazard between Charleston and East Prairie will finally be cleaned up.
Efforts by county and East Prairie officials to address an illegal tire dump located on the west side of Highway 105 just south of the old drive-in theater had been made for years, apparently in vain.
"It's on the schedule to be cleaned up by DNR," Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said during the regular Mississippi County Commission meeting Thursday.
The land's owner, Cecil Hammontree, could not be reached for comment by presstime.
Last summer, East Prairie City Administrator Kathie Simpkins corresponded with Tom DeHaven, environmental specialist for the Solid Waste Management Program, about the illegal tire dump. DeHaven advised Hammontree had at that time declined due to financial reasons a clean-up offer from the Department of Natural Resources which would have required him to pay 10 percent of the department's cost and provide the department legal access to perform the activity.
Simpkins said Hammontree recently told her he mailed a payment to DNR, although she hasn't actually seen documentation.
"Just in a conversation he had indicated to me that he had worked out an agreement with DNR," Simpkins said. "He was hoping that would be cleaned up soon."
County resident George Miller confirmed Thursday that he has agreed to purchase from Hammontree about eight acres of land immediately north of the lot where the tire pile is with the understanding that the tires will be cleaned up.
"The DNR man told me around the first of April," Miller said.
The land Miller will purchase includes the old drive-in which now has a pond in the middle created when dirt was removed and used as fill for elderly and low-income housing projects in East Prairie.
In other Mississippi County business:
* Chances are slim the county's airport will see any improvements in the near future.
A grant application for funding to develop a revised layout plan for the airport won't be reviewed until March or April, according to county officials.
Additionally, the county has been advised "funds have decreased over the last two years" in the Missouri Department of Transportation's State Aviation Trust Fund, County Clerk Junior DeLay said, resulting in planned projects in being pushed back or cut.
* Commissioners discussed removing the border alongside the ramp leading up to their seats in the County Commission meeting room briefly before agreeing the addition of a brass rail would better address the risk of someone stumbling on the ramp's floor trim.
A suggestion from a court system employee to add swinging gates for the rail between lawyers and spectators in the main courtroom was also discussed as the boundary is sometimes not observed and respected by spectators.
* Landscaping at the courthouse is OK, DeLay reported, but county officials are still waiting on the pavestones to be laid between the sidewalk and the front curb.
"He said they'll probably do it on a weekend when there won't be any traffic," DeLay said.
DeLay said if it stays warm like it has been lately, they may be able to put mulch down.