Isn’t it ironic that when we were finally able to drive across the new Center Creek Bridge, we weren’t going anywhere. It had taken almost a year to complete the project, which was hampered by a crack in the stone foundation.
Webb City was anticipating a surge of traffic veering away from Main Street to East Street, where new businesses have been buying vacant lots from the city.
The Centennial Retail and Industrial Park got a boost on Jan. 15 when the building permit for a Sleep Inn and Suites was submitted. Webb City hasn’t had a motel since Motel 71 and the Ozark Motel were demolished for Walmart and McDonald’s, respectively.
Sleep Inn took the remaining prime spot, which is the southeast corner of the roundabout. It will be seen from the Highway 249 bridges that split four-lane traffic south of Carterville.
Ground was broken for the motel on June 19, and it is expected to open spring 2021. The city announced in November that it had just one lot left to sell.
Centennial Park consists mostly of ground that had been tainted with mine waste before the EPA started reclaiming it as a superfund site in 2007.
Before the pandemic, the City Council budgeted an unusually large amount on street paving. The largest project was West Daugherty Street, including new sidewalk, curb and gutter. The North Main Street Sidewalk was finally constructed in 2020. It had been approved several years ago as a joint project of the Missouri Department of Transportation and the city. However, it was delayed mostly while obtaining approval to cross the railroad. And although the city’s portion was much more than planned, the city council went ahead because of the project’s value. Meanwhile, the first phase of a similar sidewalk project along Stadium Drive is expected to be built in 2021. After the second phase is complete, the sidewalk will stretch from Madison Street west to Colonial Drive.
Also ironic is the fact that Streetcar No. 60 has hundreds of new rails supporting its tracks in King Jack Park – but no passengers because of the pandemic.
The city council had been hesitant to continue with large budgeted projects because of uncertainty about the effect of the pandemic on the local economy.
Those concerns turned out to be unwarranted. Sales tax receipts exceeded those from the previous year.
A new water well was drilled at the northwest corner of the city, and a well house is expected to be built around it in 2021.
The city’s sixth tornado siren completes coverage of the entire city. It is also located in the northwest part of the city (by the sewage treatment plant) and even covers the south part of Oronogo.
Speaking of the EPA, native plants in the wetlands built between the treatment plant and Center Creek began filtering zinc from the plant’s effluent in 2020.
The Center Creek 201 Wastewater Treatment Board, representing Webb City, Oronogo and Carterville, saw its innovative sludge operation get underway in 2020. Construction of a building housing a centrifuge was completed. The centrifuge removes water from sludge, which can then be mixed with manure, food waste and wood chips to form a compost that can be applied as fertilized top soil. The primary benefit is that the sludge, contaminated with zinc, will no longer have to deposited in a landfill, which will save the cities money.
The success of both the wetlands and sludge projects is of interest by state and federal agencies.
Centennial Park isn’t the only section of the city that saw economic growth. Dairy Queen and Domino’s both opened new buildings on Madison Street in 2020. And the city’s first winery, Just-A-Taste, opened in a series of rehabilitated buildings on Main Street. Owner Paul Taylor likens the concept, with several dining, drinking and gathering spots, as an adult theme park. A rooftop bar is planned to be built added in 2021.
Wetlands are lowering the amount of zinc entering Center Creek from the treatment plant.
Going back to when horse-drawn wagons were pushed into the fire station, Webb City firefighters push the city’s new ladder truck into its space as part of a dedication ceremony. It is the city’s first NEW ladder truck.