SIKESTON -- Recent property acquisitions by the city are a step toward the future, according to Mayor Mike Marshall.
During the regular City Council meeting Monday, a bill authorizing the purchase of real estate located at 103 S. Kingshighway, the location of Robey's Pawn Shop, was passed after a first and second reading as an emergency measure to minimize the cost to the city.
Chuck Leible, city counselor, explained the purchase price includes a payoff of the owner's first deed of trust and any delay would raise the city's cost which now will not exceed $150,000 plus normal and reasonable closing costs.
The purchase is part of the city's plan "to try to improve downtown," according to Marshall.
Property in that area may be used in the future for a Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority redevelopment project or possibly as a location to build a new Department of Public Safety headquarters. "A lot of folks would agree we'd like to keep it downtown," Marshall said.
In the short-term, the property may be used by the DPS for storage.
"We have a lot to offer in the downtown area," Marshall said, adding that he hopes revitalization efforts bring tourists and shoppers back to the area.
The removal of asphalt from historic brick streets "makes a tremendous improvement downtown, Councilman Jim Terrell said. "It's a good project."
The replacement of missing bricks will also be involved. "We have about 3,000 bricks stored at the shop," said City Manager Doug Friend.
Council members also authorized accepting property located at 211 Felker and 223-225 Felker from the Department of Justice.
"That property was seized and forfeited when the last Sumlins went to trial on their federal drug charges," Leible recalled.
The transfer includes the stipulation that the property must be used for community betterment for the first five year, after which there are no restrictions, Leible said.
Placing the property in the LCRA's inventory for future development would satisfy the community betterment requirement, according to Leible.
In other business during Monday's meeting:
* The purchase of a John Deere tractor for the street division from Aufdenberg Equipment Company was approved.
The deal includes trading in the city's present tractor.
The bid committee decided the additional horsepower and other features of the John Deere make it the best bid even though the bid for a Case tractor from Nelson was lower, according to Steve Lee, street superintendent.
* A bill requiring the installation and maintenance of sprinkler systems in health care facilities, ambulatory facilities and residential board and care facilities within city limits was read for the first time.
Drew Juden, DPS director, said the idea for the amendment is a result of the July 20 fire at Green Meadows Retirement Home at 411 N. Kingshighway.
All 56 residents and employees were evacuated without any injuries but the structure was a total loss. "We avoided a serious disaster there," Juden said.
While sprinkler systems are required by state law for new construction of residential care facilities, most existing facilities in Missouri are not required to have them. Juden said this ordinance would protect those who can't protect themselves.
If approved, facility owners would have 18 months from the bill's effective date.
* A request from Paul and Diane Groves to abandon a 5-foot utility easement on Primrose Drive in the Fairfield Subdivision's Fourth Addition was approved.
* Council members approved declaring the city's old postage meter machine surplus property so it can be sold.
* Marshall congratulated Karen Bailey on being named president of the Southeast Missouri City Clerk Finance Officers Association.
* Council members authorized Friend to award a bid for a new scoreboard at the VFW ballpark.