DEARBORN, Mo. — A meandering two-hour-plus meeting again featured citizens expressing frustrations, specifically with drainage ditches dug out earlier this summer.
However, the Dearborn Board of Aldermen also presented some well-received news Monday, Aug. 14 when discussing plans for a Dollar General store to be built inside city limits. Members also ordered the drafting of a proposal to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to take possession of sewer lines that would serve the new building plus three residences on the western edge of the city.
Dearborn mayor Jamie Morey said Dollar General planned to start construction on the store in October of this year with completion likely set for early 2018. The building would be located on Highway Z, just before reaching the bridge that spans Bee Creek.
While the item was on the agenda, discussion was short and aldermen briefly looked at overhead maps showing the proposed location.
“We’ve got plans,” Morey said. “I don’t know why it was on the agenda.”
Dollar General bills itself as “America’s neighborhood general store,” dedicated to making shopping easy and affordable. The company runs more than 12,500 locations in 43 states name-brand products that include food, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, family apparel, housewares and seasonal items.
Currently, Dollar General operates locations in Weston, Platte City and Trimble as well as many in the Kansas City metro area.
Confirmation of the rumored project adds a potential economic impact for a small city in need of businesses. Outside of the Trex Mart just off of Interstate 29, Dearborn doesn’t have another large collector of sales tax through retail.
The location also presents a potential solution to a long-running challenge.
Currently, Dearborn collects a monthly fee of $3,500 from MoDOT, allowing the organization access to the city’s sewer lagoon. However, Dearborn properties cannot tie into the MoDOT sewer line that runs from the I-29 rest area just south of town.
In a proposal sent to MoDOT, the city would lower that monthly fee to $1,750 if given ownership of the sewer line from the city limits to the lagoon. This would give sewer access to Dollar General and three residences to the west currently on septic systems.
However, the city did mention upcoming Highway Z bridge replacement as a possible complication. MoDOT plans to undertake six to eight months to demolish and reconstruct a new, wider bridge over Bee Creek. Completion is expected in fall of 2018, according to Morey, meaning the construction could start this upcoming spring.
The bridge is the oldest one MoDOT still maintains in the state.
The widening of the roadway could cause potential problems for the sewer line once under city ownership. If bridge footings expanded into the path, the city could be required to pay for the cost of moving the line to avoid interference with the new bridge.
The city opted to take the risk, knowing MoDOT wanted a decision soon, and knowing the construction of its own sewer line to service Dollar General and the other residences would be cost prohibitive.
Also at the meeting, the city took into consideration eliminating parking on one side of Short Street out front of Dearborn City Hall to avoid potential issues for emergency vehicles and accepted the resignation of Nicole Otto, deputy city clerk.
In addressing old business, Danielle Perkins again brought up the ditches dug earlier this summer that citizens have complained about. She asked for public works employees to finally smooth out the edges and to clear culverts to allow the drainage improvements to work.
According to Perkins and others, the ditches were dug too deep in some areas, and erosion has led to reported sidewalk issues, pooling water and water running into roadways instead of the intended drainage paths. A public works employee indicated rains still needed to help the ground settle, but the citizens in attendance asked for more immediate action.
“We’ve done no good, and it looks like crap and it’s making our town look like crap,” Perkins said. “It’s still an ongoing process, and I’ll bring it up at every meeting until something gets done. I have no problem with that.”
The city authorized expenditure of up to $1,500 to buy materials that will help stop erosion, and asked public works to work on smoothing out trouble areas and jetting out the culverts.
The issue first came up when the ditches were dug without notification to residents. The work left yards in unsatisfactory conditions, according to complaints, and citizens have asked for more communication while addressing the issues.
A public meeting addressing a potential change of angled parking to parallel parking on Third Street will be held Saturday, Aug. 19, starting at 1 p.m. Citizens will have a chance to bring up issues with the proposed change, which the board of aldermen voted to consider during the June meeting.
The item had not been on the posted agenda — a potential violation of state and/or city statute — that led to public outcry last month. The board went into closed session in July and then announced the public meeting.