Mt. Vernon BOA contributes $25,000 toward “Welcome to Mt. Vernon” sign along I-44

Steve Chapman

MV EDC group will also support financially
During their meeting on Tuesday, April 9, the Mt. Vernon Board of Aldermen voted to contribute $25,000 towards the construction of a sign which will welcome visitors as they enter the city off I-44 at exit 44. The board voted to contribute the funds at the request of Brian George, CEO of Mid-America Dental and Hearing Center and chairman of the Vision Advisory Committee, a body dedicated to helping guide the city’s growth over the next 20 to 25 years.
George described to the board what the sign would look like during the public comments portion of the meeting.
“We came up with a v-shaped sign … visible from both directions on the Interstate, eight-feet tall by 25-feet long on each side, with three flag poles and an independent solar lighting system that will gather sunlight during the day and illuminate the sign at night,” he told the board.
The sign would be located on land owned by George and his parents through their company, and he said they would be willing to lease the land to the city or the chamber for $1 a year, depending on MoDOT regulations. He and other family members will mow the area around the land, and he told the council he hopes to have members of the local FFA chapter come out and spruce up the area once a year.
As to the three flag poles which will be included with the sign, George said he would like to see the American flag, the Missouri flag, and a flag representing Mt. Vernon flown. Noting there is currently no flag which represents the city, he suggested to the board it was time one was created; he suggested having a contest where local artists could come up with a design.
George also said he felt the sign would be a good investment as it could help attract visitors to the city; he ultimately hopes to see another sign at Exit 41.
“I think it’s even more important now than it was back in December,” he told the board. “If they truly can attract 200,000 people to our city coming off the exit at 44, that sign will be a great statement about how we feel about our town. I thought from the Joplin side it should say, ‘Welcome to Mt. Vernon,’ and from the Springfield side, it should say, ‘Thank you for visiting Mt. Vernon.’”
The $25,000 George requested is hoping to raise for the project; he told the board his goal is to raise $50,000.
“I’ve got an agreement from the EDC for a substantial investment in this, (but) I don’t know what that number is,” he said.
After George’s comments, the board voted to contribute the amount of money he requested for the project.
In other business, the board passed three ordinances. The first authorized the execution of an agreement between Mt. Vernon and K & B Equipment to make improvements to Gibbs Park and replace a culvert at South Street. According to a copy of the contract provided by the city, the city will pay K & B $463,215.45 for the work, provided all terms of the contract are met.
The second ordinance authorized the execution of an agreement between Mt. Vernon and HDR Engineering, Inc. HDR will perform several engineering tasks regarding the extension of water and sewer lines under I-44 along Farm Road 1147 prior to MoDOT’s replacement of the bridge currently standing there.
The final ordinance declared the results of the election on April 2, 2019, pertaining to the Board of Aldermen races were in effect.
The board also heard a request from Patti McBride, as well as Shawn and Lorrie Lindemann to allow residents to continue to use the MRC campus for the purpose of walking, bike riding and walking their dogs. She stated residents would not be opposed to paying a small fee to use the campus. The board took no action on the request.
During the Adjourn Sine Die portion of the meeting, the board adjourned and new and re-elected board members were sworn in and seated. The one new board member was Scott Beckley, who defeated incumbent J.N Greene. After the board members were sworn in and seated, the board re-convened and continued the meeting.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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