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Chamber told Waynesville is growing, school road realignment hits snag
Chamber told Waynesville is growing, school road realignment hits snag

Waynesville Councilwoman Luge Hardman explains her city's growth as well as a traffic flow problem on GW Lane by Waynesville High School.
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (March 10, 2010) — Projects in Waynesville’s downtown are progressing, Councilwoman Luge Hardman told members of the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce during their noon meeting Wednesday, but efforts to realign the GW Lane and Ichord Avenue intersection by Waynesville High School have hit a snag that may force creation of a “roundabout” or traffic circle.

“Downtown projects continue; there’s a lot of good stuff going on in downtown Waynesville,” Hardman said, including $2 million worth of construction work.

“We also continue to work on some excellent projects that are going to start this summer. Most of you know that we did pass a bond issue for our wastewater and sewer treatment plant, a $5 million project, and that’s also going to begin this summer,” Hardman said.

The GW Lane realignment is going less well, she said. Plans had originally called for GW Lane to be rerouted from its current location as an outer road for Interstate 44 and move the junction with Ichord Avenue north so it would intersect with the service road between Townfield Plaza and the Lowe’s car dealership.

“I will tell you that it is the goal of the city to work to improve the traffic flow of the high school,” Hardman said. “Keep your eyes to the local media to what happens there; hopefully there will be something that happens shortly.”

“I would just tell you that we have had some snags in that project because of concerns by some of the landowners there,” Hardman said. “We have come up with some different alternatives; one of them, of course, does include the roundabouts that you read in the paper. I will tell you, though, that we do have other alternatives.”

Other planned construction in Waynesville includes a grant-funded Safe Routes to School sidewalk construction project in front of Waynesville Middle School, Hardman said, and work continues on planning upgrades to the Roubidoux Bridge in downtown Waynesville. New home construction continues, she said, with 14 housing starts so far this year, and a planned change to the city’s zoning ordinances that will officially allow residential apartments to be built above commercial property in the downtown area. Some cases of that exist already, but have been “grandfathered” as pre-existing uses; the new ordinance approved Tuesday night by the Planning and Zoning Commission, if it’s also approved by the full city council next week, will allow developers to build or remodel buildings with apartments as part of the plan.

Upcoming events for Waynesville include Waynesville Pride Day and Waynesville Clean-Up Day, which will be April 17 and April 14, respectively. The American Legion Riders will also sponsor an egg hunt on April 3 for children in the city park, and the local farmer’s market will open on May 15.

Pulaski County Tourism Director Beth Wiles said the Pulaski County Fine Arts Association spring theater series begins this weekend and will run for the next three weekends, and noted that the Tourism Bureau has a cooperative marketing grant to help cities and nonprofit organizations in Pulaski County advertise their events.

Assistant Superintendent Joe Petrich reminded Chamber members that spring break begins next week and when school resumes, students will be in the fourth quarter of the year.

While student populations continue to increase due to more soldiers coming to Fort Leonard Wood and due to a changing demographic that is causing older married people with children to enlist in the Army, and the Waynesville district will be hiring more teachers as a result, Petrich said district administrators are trying to hold the line on cost increases.

“We are doing some hiring right now and we were able to secure a couple of real solid applicants just yesterday; it’s very positive there,” Petrich said. “But finances being what they are, I really feel strongly government needs to tighten their belts as well as the private sector, and some of these positions we are looking at really closely and decided not to fill a couple based on attrition.”

No layoffs are planned, Petrich said, and any reductions should be through natural attrition, he said.

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