Purdy pondering moving city hall

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
In November, Purdy City Council members approved the purchase of a new vinyl sign for the city hall. From left, Aldermen Brian Bowers, Scotty Redshaw and Austin Hammen displayed the sign in December, but it has not gone on display yet, pending a decision on where to put it. Council members now want to move the city office to the Purdy Community Center. Murray Bishoff/Cassville Democrat

Closing of library presents new opportunity for office space

The Purdy City Council appears primed to make the most of the bad news that the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library is closing the Purdy branch by moving the city office.

Mayor Bo Prock reported council members are “considering” moving the city hall into the library portion of the community center. At the same time, the police department and public works offices would move across the street from the present city hall into the former fire department building.

Prock said the community building would provide more space than the city offices currently have, and open the west half of the building, used for public gatherings, as more spacious chambers for council meetings.

“I really liked the idea,” Prock said. “It would be a good move for the city. We tossed around the idea of putting up a big electronic sign, something like the one used by the Baptist Church. We could possibly talk to the school and make it a joint venture, maybe make it bigger and nicer.”

The move could open the possibility of selling the current city hall building, strategically located at Highway C and Commercial Street. The possibility also explains why the new sign purchased for the outside of the city hall had not yet gone on display.

With the struggles resolving issues with the city’s sewer system drawing to a close, Prock used the council meeting to expand discussion on new community projects. He wants to move forward on establishing a nine-hole Frisbee golf course. He and Steven Chancellor, school superintendent, kicked the idea around a year ago. If a joint undertaking with the school, the course could stretch from the city park to the outdoor classroom. Prock estimated the cost for a Frisbee golf course that size would run $5,000 to $6,000.

“We would need some landscaping first to make it work,” Prock said. “We may need to remove some branches, trees and bushes.”

Following up on a poll Prock ran on Facebook, he reported “a ton of support” for reopening the city’s fishing pond. Located between Seventh and Ninth streets, the lagoon once had been stocked with fish and had popular support. An effort to expand it in the late 1990s and dig a deeper space “cracked the seal” and left the pond unusable.

“It’s not a real big undertaking,” Prock said. “It’s a project we should take on. Frankly, I’m sick of spending all our time on the sewer. These other projects are more fun.”

Updates on the sewer system now pumping effluent to Monett on a six-mile-long pipeline appears to have developed no new problems. Prock said he is not concerned about the issue Public Works Supervisor Lonnie Lowery raised in December, that a high water event could overwhelm the west side of town, now that the west lagoon has been disabled as a retention pond for water overflow.

Prock said the city’s engineering firm, Allgeier, Martin and Associates, had a holding tank installed on the west side of Highway 37, big enough to hold enough overflow that the lift station could pump it to Monett. The engineers, he noted, expanded the capacity of the city’s system by 100 customers. He had “no reason” to think their calculations would fall short of Purdy’s needs.

In other business, Police Chief Jackie Lowe submitted his annual report, showing crime statistics in Purdy very close to 2017 numbers, and overall reflected a decrease in crime. Total cases worked were 194, down three from the previous year.

Arrests dropped to 59, the same number as in 2016, down from 70 in 2017. Thefts totaled 25, up from 20 in 2016 but down 12 from 2017. Burglaries showed a rise of one to nine, but close to the average for 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Calls for service totaled 650, down 12 percent from 2017. The biggest change came in traffic stops, which fell to 105, less than half the number in 2017. Traffic related issues dropped as well, resulting in 31 citations, down from 41 in 2017, and 81 warnings given, down from 188 the year before.

With a renewed interest by council members in property maintenance and enforcing ordinances, letters of ordinance violations totaled 49 for the year, nearly double the previous year and more than double from the two years before that.

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