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Council approves contract for sidewalks

Pedestrian traffic to one downtown area will be easier in coming years due to an upcoming construction project.

The Farmington City Council approved a contract on May 10 with Kimes Contracting LLC for sidewalk installation along Henry Street up to Old Fredericktown Road.

The contract is in the amount of $201,676.50. Other costs for the project include design engineering in the amount of $22,632 and construction inspection in the amount of $14,639.04 with Cochran Engineering.

Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers said this project has been on a slow grind “for years and years and years” – with the addition of sidewalks in that area important due to increased traffic from multi-family developments constructed the past several years.

During the Public Works Committee report during the Jan. 12, 2017 Farmington City Council meeting, Mayor Larry Forsythe – at that time the councilman for Ward I – said the city was awarded a Transportation Alternative Project grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation for the construction of a sidewalk along Highway H in Farmington.

“I think we applied for MoDOT grants – this was the fourth occasion to fund those sidewalks,” Beavers said after the May 10 meeting. “We were finally successful with that and will be constructing a sidewalk out to Old Fredericktown Road” south from Henry Street.

The new sidewalks will connect with those found on Old Fredericktown Road to serve residents in that area.

Additional residential development on H Highway is leading city officials to apply for additional funding to extend the pedestrian sidewalks.

“We’re going to attempt grants over the next two or three grant cycles to get the funding to extend [sidewalks]…ultimately out to Korber Road,” Beavers said.

Eight Southeast Missouri communities were selected to receive $1.74 million in transportation alternative funds. Nineteen applications were received in November 2016 totaling more than $4.5 million in requests.

According to Public Works Director Larry Lacy, the “TAP” grant, which stands for Transportation Alternative Project, will pays for construction only of the project.

The amount covered through the grant is $218,493.00 – or 73 percent of construction cost.

The cost for the sidewalks is due to curb and gutter work required, stormwater drainage and other issues.

The contractor has 90 days from the date of the notice to proceed with work, according to Lacy.

In other news, it was announced Farmington is one of two local communities receiving a special designation this past week.

Farmington Mayor Larry Forsythe and City Administrator Greg Beavers made the trip to Jefferson Barracks on May 8 to make a presentation before the Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum Committee. The museum will be located on the grounds of the historic barracks.

The mayor officially announced the designation during the May 10 Farmington City Council meeting.

“I [made] a presentation to the POW-MIA committee [for Farmington] to become a ‘POW-MIA City,’” Forsythe said. Representatives from the city of Bismarck made similar presentations and received the designation as well. “[Farmington and Bismarck] both got approved, so we are very excited about this.”

On hand for Forsythe’s presentation was Farmington VFW Post Commander Dwain Asberry, who commended the mayor and city administrator for their work and presentation leading to the designation for the city.

Forsythe said the museum committee is hoping to take this designation program nationwide. Fenton was the first city receiving the designation in December of 2016.

A ceremony recognizing the designation is scheduled for July 4 at Veterans Park on Perrine Road and also includes an official renaming ceremony for the park – formerly known as Jaycee Park.

According to the website, the Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum, Inc. is a 501C(3) non-profit, non-partisan, all volunteer organization with a Board of Directors, an Executive Committee, and an active Fundraising Committee in place. The museum will be located in the 1898 Officers’ Quarters building.

The website states the mission of the Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum is to “reverently honor all who served our country in any branch of the United States military who were captured by enemies of the United States or who are missing in action from any year and from any conflict. This Mission includes raising the awareness of the American public to the numbers of captured Americans who returned to us alive, and to the numbers of those who perished in captivity, and to the numbers of those service personnel missing who have not yet been returned to us for the homage they deserve.”

The website adds the Missouri AMVETS, the Missouri American Legion, the Missouri Veterans Commission, the Missouri Department of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, the Missouri AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary, the Missouri Air Force Association, and the Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars, have joined together to form the Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum, Inc.

Beavers said the museum representatives began the POW-MIA City designation program a couple of years ago.

Cities receiving the designation will have signs at city limits noting the designation.

“It’s interesting about the number of people from Farmington that were POWs,” Beavers said. “We’ve identified through the VFW Post in Leadington and also the one in Farmington about 25 that we know of that were POWs in World War II. MIAs are a little more difficult, because during World War II, all the [MIA] records were given by state – they didn’t give them to by county, nor did they give them to you by city.”

Beavers said they are relying on newspaper articles from that time period to get a more accurate count of the local MIAs for that conflict.

During the Korean War, there are eight POWs identified from this area – three of which died while held in captivity.

Records for the Vietnam War give a more accurate count, Beavers said. Most recently, ceremonies honoring Reginald Cleve were held at Jefferson Barracks and the St. Francois County Courthouse on the anniversary of his helicopter crash. Cleve’s remains were never recovered.

“This community and this county has a deep tradition and a lot of sacrifice from a lot of good people that were standing up to defend freedom,” he said.

Forsythe also noted the sacrifice of others is the reason for taking the steps for the designation.

“This … is the reason why [the city] approached [this designation] … to honor those people,” Forsythe said.

Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum Committee creates these signs for communities receiving the POW-MIA City designation. Representatives from Farmington and Bismarck traveled to Jefferson Barracks on May 8 and were awarded the designation.

Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum Committee creates these signs for communities receiving the POW-MIA City designation. Representatives from Farmington and Bismarck traveled to Jefferson Barracks on May 8 and were awarded the designation.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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