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City council asked to support renewed apartment grant effort

by Mark Cheffey

The Palmyra City Council found out during the regular meeting Thursday that a proposed restricted income apartment complex for the north side of the square is back in the offing.

Representatives from Roanoke Construction went before the council for the project, which was turned down for state and federal funding six years ago, but is  going for another try.

Kevin Buchek and Mike Duffy said the grant-application deadline is Oct. 31, and asked for letters of recommendation from the city to aid in the process.

If approved, they said, ground-breaking for the 40-unit project at 110 West Main Cross on property owned by Ed Dent, of Palmyra, could occur in August of next year.

Duffy told the council project plans was quickly revived when it was announced about a month ago the state of Missouri was making grant funding available for such projects, over a 15-year period, for the first time in over three years.

Duffy and Buchek gave an overview of the project plans which call for a structure with two stories facing the south and three on the north where the facility’s drive through entrance and parking lot would be located.

The facility was described not as low income housing but as restricted income housing of higher quality for people age 55 and older.

Each apartment would have its own laundry, bath and kitchen facilities and there would be common rooms as well as an exercise room.

Services would also be made available to residents including transportation, exercise and computer classes and health clinics and screenings.

Efforts would be made to involve local workers not only to build the $5.4 million facility but to serve at it when finished.

Mayor Loren Graham expressed some concern that the Northeast Community Action Corporation would be contracted to manage the facility, and questioned whether the facility would or not provide tax revenue to the city.

Duffy said the facility will be a source of property taxes and expressed confidence in NECAC, which, he said, has a strong reputation.

The mayor and council did take a vote on the proposal but indicated the need to look it over before writing and submitting letters before the deadline.

In other business, the council voted 5-0 to approve signing a mutual aid training agreement with the city of Hannibal and its police department.

Police Chief Eddie Bogue said drug enforcement is important in Palmyra, but appropriate training of officers for it is hard to come by especially with COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Bogue noted Hannibal’s police force has a trained Anti-Crime Enforcement Squad, and he reached out to Hannibal to see if Palmyra officers could obtain on-the-job training with the unit.

Under the agreement, selected Palmyra officers would work side-by-side with the ACES members under Hannibal Police authority on cases in Hannibal or Palmyra.

“The best way to learn is through hands-on training,” Bogue said.

The council also voted 5-0 to approve a request from the Board of Public Works to purchase a pre-owned 2001 trencher from a vender in Monticello, Mo. at a cost of $12,500.

Mayor Graham said the BPW is sometimes required to dig trenches, but has either had to rent a trencher or use a back- hoe instead.

“I think its well needed,” Graham said, noting it looked like a good deal.

Following the required second reading, the council voted 5-0 to approve an ordinance changing the name of of Betty and Gene streets in the Hinds Fairground Addition to Betty and Gene avenues.

The council was also united in approving a Public Funds Deposit Agreement with HOMEBANK.

It was decided to table a first-reading of a proposed ordinance regarding pest extermination until the city attorney could look over some new language to be added to it.

The council also discussed an on-going nuisance property issue involving rental property at Church and Home streets.