Council considers building a multi-purpose recreational facility

Bob Foos

City Administrator Carl Francis was directed Monday by the Webb City Council to investigate options for construction of an indoor recreation center with ample space for spectators.

That was the result of an unusual discussion item on the council’s agenda. It was placed on the agenda by Mayor Lynn Ragsdale after Jeremy Evans, owner of the Sleep Inn, spoke at the May 22 meeting about the need for an attraction to bring visitors to Webb City. He mentioned the possibility of a major attraction under consideration in Joplin being constructed in Webb City.

Evans had also lamented that a developer’s plans to build a convention center next to his hotel were canceled during the pandemic.

Jerry Fisher (3rd Ward) said he appreciated Evans’ concern about the failed promise of a convention center, but he’s doubtful there’s a demand now for a convention center. Besides, he said, “We have a lot bigger problems in Webb City than not having a convention center.”

Francis noted, “We’ve needed an indoor recreation facility for some time.”

In fact, he said the comprehensive plan has set aside 7 acres southeast of the soccer fields in King Jack Park for such a facility.

There are remaining America Rescue Plan Act funds that could be used to finance the project, but a bond issue might be necessary.

Council members seemed agreeable to the idea of building a multi-purpose facility.

Francis stipulated that it would be for recreational use – as opposed for travel teams.

Ragsdale added that the facility must be large enough for spectator seating.

Council vacancy

The council accepted the resignation of Jonathan Shull from his 3rd Ward seat.

In his resignation letter, Shull said he will no longer meet the residency requirement because he is accepting a job out of state. He thanked 3rd Ward residents for allowing him to serve them for the past six years (three terms).

Ragsdale said he would have an appointment to fill the seat ready for council approval at the June 26 meeting.

The appointment will be for nearly two years (through April 2025) since Shull was reelected in April.

Odor at Senior Citizens Center

Francis said he received on Friday another odor complaint from the Webb City Senior Citizens Center.

It’s been an ongoing problem. “We’ve been dealing with it for years,” he said, by cleaning sewer lines and other things, each time thinking that solved the problem.

City staff were to clean out the grease trap Tuesday.


Summer recycling hours

It was announced that hours of operation at the recycling center are being expanded during the summer.

11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Friday

9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday – Sunday

Ragsdale remarked on how much better the recycling center is working since someone has been there to monitor what’s dropped off.

The center had been in an unlocked area behind the old city hall. It’s now on North Madison Street at the entrance to the Center Creek 201 Wastwater Treatment Plant.

In other action, the council:

• Accepted first reading of a council bill to charge an extra 3% sales tax on purchases of recreational marijuana. There are no dispensaries in Webb City, and the council doesn’t want any. Just in case, voters approved the tax 370-82 on April 4.

• Accepted first reading of council bills amending city code to require notices of public hearings for rezoning and special use permits to be made by certified mail to all owners within 185 feet of the subject property.

• Accepted first reading of a bill to rezone 511 N. Main Street from commercial (C-2) to multi-family (R-3) to allow construction of an apartment complex. Lots to the south in that block have already been rezoned for apartments. “Whatever is done will be an improvement,” said Ragsdale.

Rezoning 511 N. Main St. for an apartment complex will be up for second reading when the City Council meets June 24. Lots in the same block to the south are being cleared for an apartment complex.