Vacant land in the city-owned Centennial Retail/Industrial Park is attracting businesses.

‘Things are going crazy’ in the Centennial Retail/Industrial Park

Two restaurants, a mattress manufacturer, grocery store and meat processor are nearly ready to sign on the dotted line with the city

Land negotiations and swaps in Centennial Retail and Industrial Park seem to be peaking, with announcments expected soon.

So far, though, City Administrator Carl Francis is only at liberty to state publicly that S&J Processing, on Stadium Drive, will build a new meat processing facility in the park with a store in front.

He’s still sworn to secrecy on the name of the full-size family restaurant with plans to build in the park. 

Francis says the company wants to make its own announcement and has specifically asked him not to beat them to it, “even though everybody in town knows what it is.”

Besides that, he says he has tentative deals with another restaurant (a breakfast diner), a grocery chain and a manufacturing plant.

“We’re getting real close to getting these across the dotted line,” says Francis.

He did disclose that the manufacturing plant will initially employ 20 people to make mattresses. There will be a store in front to sell the mattresses and after the first year of operation the number of employees would increase to 50.

Mayor Lynn Ragsdale regularly comments that there will be a time when Francis isn’t as involved in real estate. The number of lots the city owns in the park north of the roundabout is limited.

Francis attributes the interest to increased traffic coming down East Street from Oronogo and being in sight from the Highway 249 bridges. Attwods drew attention to the park, and now the Sleep Inn & Suites is a landmark. Next to Sleep Inn will be Wes Barnum’s convention center, and next to it will be the full-size family restaurant.

Moreover, Francis says he is also helping land owners on Madison Street describe their properties to prospective businesses.

Francis informs the council of land-deal specifics during closed session. In open session Monday, the council:

  • Completed second readings for three two-year special use permits: 

– For Terry Quarles to use a barn at 1169 1/2 Prairie Flower Road for family-friendly entertainment (axe throwing). 

– For Lavonna Preble to continue operating Reflexology and More at 406 N. Webb St.

– For Mark and Cheryl Johnson to continue operating C&M Machining at 905 W. Broadway.

  • Approved an ordinance allowing Tom Reeder to vacate 62 feet of an unused alley behind 421 W. Hall St., under the condition that he remove the sewer line and any other utilities. Reeder hopes to open up the area for frontage development on the north side of Highway 171.
  • Amended a resolution passed on Jan. 25 regarding support of the Joplin Trails Coalition plan to extend the Frisco Greenway Trail. The amendment states that the Missouri Department of Transportation grant would be received by the city instead of the coalition (because MoDOT only approves grants to cities). The coalition will be responsible for coming up with the local matching dollars.
  • Allowed the police department to accept a $32,997 award from the Jasper County Law Enforcement Sales Tax Board to pay half of the cost ($2,000 of $4,000 total) to participate in the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team and purchase:

– Six tasers and accessories – $9,203.

– Equipment for three new vehicles – $21,793.

  • Allowed the police department to accept a Missouri Department of Public Safety grant in the amount of $6,999 grant to purchase 14 ballistic shields.
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