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Plan to replace trees along interstate gets mowed over

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

MINER - The Missouri Department of Transportation's plan to replace Bradford pear trees along Interstate 55 in Miner with crape myrtles did not work out so well.

MoDOT had offered to replace the trees at their cost with the lower-growing foliage as the trees were blocking billboards. The crape myrtles never got much of a chance, however, as they didn't get the water they needed when first planted and were mowed down by those maintaining the state's right-

of-way, according to city officials.

The result is a bunch of "sucker leaves" surrounding stumps, according to Alderman Justin Medley.

"In my opinion, it looks awful where they've cut them all down," he said during the regular Miner Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday.

Board members agreed to ask MoDOT to grind down the stumps and plant some new crape myrtles - this time with upright markers to keep them from being mowed.

In other business Tuesday:

* Following public comments during a hearing on a rezoning request from Kelles Wade, board members decided to have city attorney Blake Pearson research the matter before making a decision.

The property in question is located at the corner of Jewel and Vanhorn behind the Book Bug, according to Mayor Mitch Thompson.

One resident expressed concern that vacant lots in that area could also be changed to allow multifamily homes. "I'd like it to remain a single-family area," he said.

Another pointed out that Miner doesn't have any areas zoned for multifamily homes.

The owner intends to put an apartment building there which would have six or possibly eight units. A single family home on that lot is not feasible as it would face the back of a commercial building.

"We thought it would make a good buffer between commercial and residential," he said.

* Board members approved refinancing the city's two bond issues underwritten by McLiney and Company to take advantage of lower rates.

The refinancing will retire the bonds one year earlier in addition to saving the city thousands of dollars, according to Kevin Hart of McLiney and Company, with no out-of-pocket cost to the city.

* A decision on a bird control bill was tabled for further study.

Police Chief Roger Moore presented a modified version of a Sikeston ordinance that would allow the discharge of firearms with no projectiles to harass roosting birds after receiving calls from a citizen who "tried everything under the sun to get rid of them."

The ordinance was presented "just as a starting point" for a bird control ordinance, Moore said. "I just don't think we need to have firearms discharged within the city limits."

Board members will "look at different options other than guns," Medley said.

* A decision on an ordinance restricting signs on the city's right-of-ways was also tabled to allow city officials to work out the kinks.

"We don't want to hinder anyone's freedom of speech or their ability to do business," Thompson said.

* Thompson said the situation in the Gulf Coast states should get city officials thinking about disaster preparedness for Miner.

Board members agreed to notify the city's emergency management director, James Buckley, and direct him to get everything in order.