2020 in review: A message from the Mayor of Macon, Talt Holman
Welcome 2021! I don’t think I am alone when I say that I am not sad to see 2020 gone. The City did however accomplish a lot in a year that was full of challenges. With 2020 in the past, let’s reflect on some of the City’s activities and accomplishments.
The City made some capital asset purchases in 2020, including a new rescue bag lift system for the fire department as well as a cold planer milling attachment, tilt trailer, and street roller for the street department. The equipment purchased for the street department was purchased so that the department can complete more projects internally. This will save our taxpayers money and allow us to complete work when needed instead of waiting for bidding and contractor scheduling. Of course, we will still need to hire out some larger tasks, but this is a move in the right direction.
Parks & Recreation received some updates throughout the year. The Rotary International Club of Macon County collaborated with the City once again to make our City a better place for our citizens. Their donation of an all-inclusive piece of playground equipment, the Omni-Spinner, was placed at Green Briar Park. To partner with the Rotary Club and complement the project, the City placed a new bench, wheelchair accessible sidewalk, and Green Briar Park sign. We are always grateful for our civic clubs and what they bring to our community. The City also completed the much-anticipated construction of a new, larger basketball court at Rubey Street Park. Finally, we began the process of filling in the pool basin that was opened in 1938 and had been out of operation since 2016. With so many concerns expressed from our community regarding the Lake Street location for a municipal pool, 28 acres of land was secured on Bourke Street for the location of a new municipal pool and park.
Street and Stormwater infrastructure projects that occurred in 2020 include the large roadway and stormwater project on Walnut Street. The much-needed project included two new stormwater culvert boxes, six stormwater inlets, 772 feet of stormwater pipe, and 2,000 feet of roadway construction which included milling and widening. The stormwater upgrades will save the new infrastructure from untimely water damage and the road widening will provide increased safety for an already heavily traveled road, especially with the addition to the new elementary school pickup/drop off traffic pattern. Additionally, the installation of 1,580 feet of safety railing on the Overbrook concrete stormwater ditch was completed. This project provides compliance with safety regulations and will keep our workers and citizens safe when they are maintaining adjacent property.
Also in 2020, the City approved an ordinance to participate in the Property Assessment Clean Energy Act (PACE) program. The PACE program provides financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on commercial property and is aimed to encourage economic development in Macon.
Many administrative projects were completed or began in 2020. As medical marijuana has become legal in Missouri, the City updated our zoning codes and criminal codes to comply with the legislation. In addition, we completed phase 1 of a City Code recodification process. Now that phase 1 is complete, we have the knowledge needed to begin reviewing the entire code and make necessary changes. The goal is to have an updated City Code that is formatted for searchable publication on the City website. The entire process usually takes municipalities 1-2 years to complete.
Speaking of websites, we began the process of replacing our outdated website with a fresh, new website so we can provide more communication with the community. We are hopeful it will include fillable forms, online payment access, a community calendar, and access to City Council meeting minutes and/or footage. We anticipate this transition to be completed by spring 2021.
I am excited that we have moved into the new year and would like to share just a few of the plans the City has for 2021. We will continue to work on the City Code recodification project and the new website. Planning for a new municipal pool is an exciting and extremely costly endeavor for the City of Macon and is top priority in 2021. We want to fulfill as many desires of the citizens as possible and keep the costs of building and operations within what the city’s budget will allow. We are hopeful to begin construction of a frisbee golf course on the new Bourke Street Park property to provide a new recreational activity for our citizens to enjoy. Another exciting Parks & Recreation addition is to convert the Blees Park single tennis courts into four pickleball courts. The project will include court resurfacing, striping, and installment of pickleball nets. We have seen an increase in pickleball play and want to support an active community.
Transportation infrastructure improvements have taken some large leaps over the past few years and we want to continue progress in this area. While the exact locations are not yet chosen, the fiscal budget has plans to mill and overlay approximately 19,000 linear feet of City roadways.
I especially want to thank the employees of the City of Macon and Macon Municipal Utilities along with the citizens of Macon. The 2020 year was full of challenges, especially with COVID-19. I am proud of how Macon rallied together to support our neighbors, local businesses, and the community as a whole. Through the turmoil, City employees continued to serve our community when they needed us most. The resilience of our community was unwavering as we met the challenges that 2020 presented. Thank you to the Macon City Council and employees, Macon County Commissioners and employees, Macon County Health Department, Macon school systems, local businesses, health care workers, first responders, and the entire community for working through 2020 and leading us into 2021!
Mayor James “Talt” Holman
Headline picture taken by Reporter Benjamin Nelson
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