Monday, May 31, 2010
One of Rolla’s most popular and widely attended events is just a week away as well. The 16th Annual “Route 66 Summerfest” kicks off Thursday, June 3 at 6 p.m. with the Miss “Route 66” Pageant at Rolla Middle School. On Friday, June 5 at 4 p.m. classic cars, custom cars and motorcycles will gather at the St. James Visitor Center before “cruising” along old Route 66 from St. James to Rolla’s Downtown Festival Park at 7 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. Friday evening the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) BBQ Picnic will be held in the downtown festival area at the corner of 9th and Elm streets. Anyone interested in obtaining tickets ($8 ea.) for the picnic, which includes fried chicken, cole slaw and baked beans, can contact Rick Morris at (573) 578-8567.
Summerfest festivities continue on Saturday morning, June 5 with the arts and crafts festival on 9th Street, the classic car show on Pine Street and the motorcycle show on 8th Street. Sporting events include the “Friends of Tennis” Tennis Tournament at 8 a.m. at the Ber Juan Tennis Complex, Sand Volleyball Tournament and Tour-de-Phelps leisurely ride to St. James and back, which begins at 9 a.m. There’s face painting, inflatable games, horseback rides, and the giant sandbox for the young kids and skateboarding for the older ones. For a complete list of Summerfest activities and events, including the FREE outdoor concert at 8 p.m., please visit www.route66summerfest.com. For a complete listing of more events and festivities planned in the Rolla and Phelps County area, please visit www.rollacity.org/events.
See you at Summerfest!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Standing at over 80-feet-tall, 5 ½ feet in diameter and 16 feet, 1 ½ in circumference, the giant Cottonwood, between 90 and 100 years-old, is living a healthy, undisturbed life on 11th Street between Spring and Poole Avenues, across from the Lutheran School. The Cottonwood is one of the oldest native trees in Missouri, and grows in large numbers in various areas throughout the state – especially in low-lying ones where water is plentiful.
The large roots of the Cottonwood were discovered encroaching on a city sidewalk over five years ago while the City’s Right-of-Way Inspector, Bill Doyle was conducting an inspection of the City’s 80 miles of sidewalks. As part of the City’s annual sidewalk inspection program, Bill came across the Cottonwood and took steps to save it by ramping the sidewalk over the roots, and maintaining a healthy growing space. If the sidewalk had been constructed on a level plain with the rest of the street’s sidewalk, it would have been necessary to cut into the roots, which would have eventually killed the tree. Fortunately the tree, which grows about ¾ inch annually, is thriving, but continues to encroach on the sidewalk. Bill’s persistent vigilance while maintaining the sidewalk inspection program has ensured the tree’s longevity. Last week Bill, together with the help of the City’s Concrete Crew members, Jeff Grisham and Chris Palmer, who recently saw-cut the sidewalk next to the tree, took steps to ensure the roots of the tree would not be damaged by the sidewalk, nor the sidewalk damaged by the roots of the tree. This fine balance between nature and man, is a delicate one, but a very important part of the City’s sidewalk protection program that is intended to identify safety/trip hazards that will impede pedestrian traffic, and possibly jeopardize safety for disabled or handicapped individuals. By saw-cutting the sidewalk, individuals can still safely travel on the sidewalk next to the giant Cottonwood. Fortunately, Bill says the City has another eight inches of room left before the roots begin to threaten the 3-foot sidewalk requirement (established by the ADA). Since the tree grows about ½ to ¾ of an inch per year, it could be another 10 years or so before the roots of the tree seriously jeopardize pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk. When and if this occurs, the City, with the permission of the land-owner, could reroute the sidewalk safely around the tree’s roots.
While the giant Cottonwood is certainly a treasure the City is glad to have saved, and will continue to keep a close eye on, you can be assured that all of the City’s sidewalks are being inspected annually by Bill Doyle for trip and safety hazards such as over-grown brush, roots and tree limbs that are being addressed and rectified. Like the City’s 100 miles of streets, our sidewalks also need to be inspected and maintained on a regular basis.
I would like to extend my thanks to Bill Doyle and the members of the Concrete Crew for their diligence and efforts to ensure that Rolla has not lost one of its natural treasures. I would also like to extend my thanks to Mike Fleischhauer, a Resource Forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation, who generously inspected the giant Cottonwood and provided the City with an overview of its estimated health, size and age.
Rolla’s tree canopy, and the surrounding 1.3-million-acre Mark Twain National Forest, are part of the unique setting that makes the quality of life so outstanding in the Rolla area.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
In keeping up with our continued effort to ensure that the entire City of Rolla is covered under the Neighborhood Watch “security blanket”. We are preparing to launch our newest campaign to invoke awareness, recognition and participation in citizens of our community to become involved in taking back your community or preserving the good life as you know it. As you already know, especially if you follow our Rolla Police Department Facebook site, crime is prevalent in Rolla. Each day our officers respond to calls of property destruction, vehicle tampering, residential and business burglaries and theft. Many times these crimes occur right under the nose of potential witnesses who, because of a lack of training or unintentional complacency, allow these criminals to continue to prey on our community. As you may realize by our weekly stats, our officers cannot be on every corner or in every neighborhood at any given time. Most of the time or officers travel from call to call without a lot of time to dedicate to each case.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Thousands of residents and visitors alike have discovered the appeal, beauty and boundless recreational opportunities that are all part of Rolla’s 85-acre Ber Juan Park.
From both a recreational and aesthetic perspective, Ber Juan Park includes a tremendous range of activities and facilities that include the 63,-000-square-foot Health and Recreation complex (The Centre), an outdoor water park (SplashZone), state-of-the-art tennis facility (Ber Juan Tennis Complex), Ber Juan Sportsplex, 9-hole disc golf course, miles of walking/biking trails, exercise trails, skateboard park, Ber Juan Lake, a playground, pavilions, picnic areas, and plenty of room for other outdoor leisure activities.
If you are new to the area, or a life-long resident, I encourage you to take advantage of the many facilities and activities that are available throughout the week at Ber Juan Park, which is located off 10th Street just a couple of blocks from downtown Rolla. The easiest way to find Ber Juan Park is either from 10th Street, Holloway Street, 14th or 18th Streets where the vast boarders of the park are located.
I would like to extend a special thanks to the City’s Parks and Recreation Department for coordinating and hosting both the 6th Annual Youth Fishing Fair and U.S.T.A. Tennis Block Party on Saturday. These are very popular and well attended events, and I extend a special thanks to all of the other agencies, clubs, businesses and individuals who have worked together to help provide these unique activities for our community.
In closing I’d like to remind everyone who has not yet filled out your 2010 U.S. Census form, to please take a few minutes to fill them out and drop them in the mail at your earliest convenience. Every year, the federal government can allocate more than $300 billion to states and communities based, in part, on census data and Census data determine how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives.
What’s also at stake for our community is the loss of $1,300 per year for every person not counted for the next 10 years. This means we could lose out on vital resources for our friends, neighbors and our family. This time around the census form is shorter, just 10 short questions, and your private information is kept just that – private for 72 years. Our community has a lot riding on this and it’s up to each of us to do our part. We are counting on you, so please be counted. Should you have any questions about the U.S. Census, please visit www.2010census.gov.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
With all of the private investment (over $5 million) and revitalization of some of the key buildings and businesses in Rolla’s downtown business district and the development of Benton Square in the new Arts and Entertainment District (over $3 million invested), it’s hard not to notice the significant strides that are being made in Rolla, Missouri.
Not coincidentally, that perception was made as well by Russell Volmert, Associate Director with Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets, Inc. (PGAV), who is the Project Manager for the DREAM (Downtown Revitalization Economic Assistance Missouri) Initiative program for the state of Missouri. Russell and his team were doing some field work in the downtown business district and Arts and Entertainment District while they were in Rolla last week to facilitate the DREAM. Kick-off meeting held at City Hall on April 22.
The DREAM Kick-off meeting follows the initial Scope of Services meeting held for the City of Rolla, on Jan. 29, 2010 at the Office of the Missouri Development Finance Board in Jefferson City. During the Kick-off meeting, which was attended by numerous downtown business owners, developers, investors, and officials from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and various city, county and state officials, Mr. Volmert and his team provided an overview of the DREAM Initiative tasks for Rolla they are working on. Some of the initiatives include: Organizational Structure Review, Project Administration, Community/Consumer Surveys, Land Use, Building, and Infrastructure Survey, Retail Market Analysis, Housing Market Analysis and Financial Assistance Evaluation. Other long-term activities included the Marketing Plan, Downtown Strategic Plan, and Communications Plan. As part of the Organizational Structure Review, the team is conducting a comprehensive analysis of the entities involved in Rolla’s downtown, including the City of Rolla, Missouri S&T, Rolla Downtown Business Association, Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce and Meramec Regional Planning Commission. Russell stated that successful revitalization requires planning and strategic implementation by many organizations.
The community surveys that will be conducted during the upcoming Route 66 Summerfest and other community events will be used to identify and validate issues regarding downtown, and help establish the framework for future direction of the DREAM Initiative.
Russell explained that the DREAM Initiative is a project that allows Missouri communities to access technical and financial assistance for downtown revitalization, and at the same time provides the expertise and assistance for smaller Missouri communities to have their downtowns function on a more sophisticated and competitive level. He further elaborated on the goals of the DREAM Initiative, which are to re-establish the properties in the downtown core, increase property values and sales tax opportunities, re-establish a sense of place and cultural heritage in the heart of the community, and attract new private investment and jobs. Russell also provided an overview of the sponsoring State of Missouri agencies for the DREAM Initiative, which includes the Missouri Development Finance Board, Missouri Department of Economic Development, and Missouri Housing Development Commission.
Looking further along the 3-year project, which very likely could be condensed and shortened because of all the preliminary planning, research, and field work that has been done over by the City’s Community Development Department and Rolla Downtown Business Association, Russell explained the purpose of creating a Marketing Plan for the downtown business district. The marketing plan will include a strategy to promote downtown as a viable, commercial, business, civic and entertainment center for the city, and create an image of downtown to attract customers, investors and new businesses. The Downtown Strategic Plan will provide a 5-10 year vision for creative and positive change for downtown Rolla.
In closing, I would like to extend a special thanks to the City’s Community Development Department, and Russ Volmert and his team for helping to host the DREAM Initiative Kick-off Meeting, and to Alex’s Pizza (located at 8th and Pine), for providing pizza for the meeting. For more information about the DREAM Initiative, please visit www.dream.mo.gov, or contact John Petersen, the City’s Director of Community Development at 426-6970 or at email@example.com.