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Commission pushes forward with county park
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Commission pushes forward with county park

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County Commission

St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock speaks to the commission about purchasing firearms and duty belts for the deputies.

The St. Francois County Commission dealt with several items of business Tuesday morning at the courthouse annex.

Sheriff Dan Bullock reported to the commission about buying firearms for the deputies.

Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher asked how many weapons are being purchased.

Bullock answered, “Sixty weapons. Every weapon the officers are carrying now they own and they’ve purchased. We do own a few handguns that were provided us by the DOD program that we own, they’ll be kept in the armory for extras in case they are needed.

“On discussion with the officers and the armorer and the [citizen’s committee], most everybody knows I’m not a big Glock fan, but we are going to go with 9mm Glocks.”

At a question about the cost, Bullock said that the total was $28,900 for 60 Glocks and extra clips and everything required for use.

The commission also approved the request to buy duty belts and all the equipment for the deputies.

Associate Commissioner Patrick Mullins brought up the next order of business on Owl Creek Park.

“We need to keep pushing forward the development of Owl Creek County Park formerly known as Bone Hole,” he said. “Talking with Department of Economic Development officials and area legislators, I believe converting and expanding this area of the park will benefit the citizens of this area, and will most certainly bring in people from other areas to stimulate our local economy.

"This is at no cost to the citizens of St. Francois County. We signed the Stewart real estate contract back on Feb. 11, 2020 with the caveat that the trustees fund the entire project using the monies from the ASARCO settlement. Today will be for the acceptance of the 108.5 acres next to our 37.5 acre county park.

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“We, the commission, will be signing more documents. I will send these documents up to Missouri Department of Natural Resources, they will get Sara Parker Pauley, who is the director, to sign and then the trustees will have to sign. They will then release the funds to us.”

The county will receive $710,000 for park use. The purchase of the Stewart Property will cost $293,000. The remaining $417,000 will be dedicated to the actual project including site restoration and long term maintenance.

The St. Francois County Soil and Water District will receive an additional $300,000 for the closing of the mine prospecting bore holes. All funds will come from ASARCO settlement funds.

The commission adopted a resolution to accept the Stewart property to add to the Owl Creek Park.

Gallaher then discussed the possible addition of isolation cells to the county jail to quarantine incoming prisoners.

“We commonly get detainees from the prisons or jails,” he said. “There is some COVID going on in the prison system. There is no good way to isolate those people from our normal population.

"We would like to add five isolation cells to our existing system. We are working with Brockmiller and they are working with a system on this. They are thinking they could get 70-80% of this done by the end of the year. We believe this is necessary anyway, but certainly because of the COVID.”

At a question from the audience about what happens to the cells after the pandemic, Gallaher said they will still be used as isolation cells as COVID is not the only disease to deal with.

Bullock added, “In the prison system we have Hepatitis, a lot of Staph, MRSA, other things where we have to put prisoners in and have to shut down a whole wing sometimes to keep them separated. This will take care of that.”

County Auditor Louie Seiberlich asked when the next round of CARES funding was going to be awarded. Originally, the funds were to be awarded during the meeting.

Mullins replied, “Last week we were supposed to receive the applications for the non-profit entities and a few of the school districts. I was told by the director of the Regional Planning Commission that we would have the applications.

"Jeremy Tanz had the virus and several of his staff were quarantined. It kicked everything back a week. I did not receive the applications until Friday afternoon. Still printing out applications. We still need to review the applications. I took it upon myself to delay this a week. We need to do our due diligence and review the applications.”

Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at mmarberry@farmingtonpressonline.com

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