A busy night at Joplin council with members approving three ordinances that mean big changes for the city.
The three biggest decisions centered around baseball, soliciting and the old Washington Elementary School. We’ll start with Ventura Sports League, they’re the company starting a new baseball team at Joe Becker Stadium.
The city has been discussing this issue since October of last year, tonight council voted seven in favor with one opposed. Southwest League will pay $35 thousand dollars a year to utilize the facility. The city will make 75 cents on tickets sold except for suites, season and group tickets.
“I mean it’s important, I think the club was under served before. I think there’s a lot of room, a lot of ceiling for success here, it’s a challenge, no doubt it’s a challenge,” says Mark Schuster with Ventura Sports Group.
The Fraternal Order of Police Southwest Missouri Regional Lodge #27 packed chambers tonight as one of their own presented statistics on the Joplin Police Department. Since 2012, 87 officers have left the department with 20 leaving in 2017, one officer left 11 days into the beginning of 2018.
Joplin police are currently looking to fill 12 positions. City council says they plan to discuss officer retention at next week’s work session.
Council also passed an ordinance that makes begging on medians intersections of roads with speed limits above 35 miles per hour illegal. According to city leaders there has been an increased amount of solicitations occurring at these intersections and they hope to mitigate that. The city will be looking at adding signage at these intersections to make people aware.
Council also approved an ordinance that would allow Watered Gardens to take over the old Washington Elementary building. Watered Gardens plans to renovate the bottom floor and offer Joplin’s first long-term family housing facility. SOS Ministries bought the building back in September, but actually gave it to Watered Gardens a little over a month ago. Joplin city council had to get involved because of zoning issues and those issues were resolved tonight.
“We feel like this is an opportune time for us to step in to that aspect of ministries and keep moms and kids together,” says James Whitford, executive director of Gospel Rescue Mission.
Watered Gardens will actually let 30 to 40 women and children live in the bottom floor. If that goes well, they’ll continue the process to other floors in the building. A few big changes across the city tonight. All of these were passes on emergency ordinances, meaning they take effect immediately.