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2021: Year in review

As the City of West Plains prepares for 2022, let’s look back at the year that was:


  • The City of West Plains, in cooperation with Ozarks Healthcare and the Howell County Health Department holds the first Mass Vaccination Clinic at the West Plains Civic Center.
  • The city is notified the Delta Regional Authority awarded $1 million toward the U.S. Highway 160 Overpass Project.
  • Funding is reinstated for the Governor’s Cost Share for the medical district roadway improvements and the decision is made to pursue the project as originally planned.
  • Demolition begins on the Southern Hills Shopping Center.
  • Work begins on Webster Groves Phase II housing developments.


  • Winter Storm Uri hits West Plains and surrounding area.
  • The city opens warming centers to help combat extreme temperatures.
  • Tractor Supply Company opens its doors.
  • The U.S. Highway 160 Overpass is mentioned by Gov. Parson in his annual State of the State address. MoDOT commits $2.25 million toward the project.
  • Second vaccination clinic held at civic center.


  • The city receives $2.5 million from CDBG to go toward the overpass project. This put us over the halfway mark in funding.
  • The city announces a new dog license and tagging ordinance.
  • The city ends its face covering mandate.


  • The West Plains Civic Center hosts the NJCAA Division 1 Volleyball Championship Tournament.
  • The groundbreaking ceremony is held at the West Plains Solar Array, marking the official beginning of construction.
  • The city hosts a retirement reception for Mayor Jack Pahlmann and City Administrator Tom Stehn.
  • Mike Topliff is sworn in as West Plains Mayor.


  • Butler Children’s Park new splash pad has ribbon cutting and grand opening.
  • John Niesen is sworn in as West Plains City Councilman.
  • West Plains Aquatic Center opens for the summer.


  • The Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival returns to the West Plains Civic Center Saturday after a one-year hiatus.
  • The Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA) issues a Resolution of Appreciation and Recognition to former City Administrator Tom Stehn.
  • Harbor Freight opens in Southern Hills.
  • The city receives word that the final grant is awarded for the overpass project. The total project has seven funding partners, including MoDOT, the Economic Development Administration, the Delta Regional Authority, CDBG, Leonardo DRS, BNSF, and the City of West Plains. In all, $9,484,737 is committed to this project.


  • The first panels are installed at the West Plains Solar Array.
  • CDBG awards the city $2.5 million for the replacement of the St. Louis Street Bridge as part of its flood mitigation program.


  • Nearly two miles of trails at Galloway Creek Nature Park are paved.
  • Work begins to repair and refresh the exterior of the West Plains Civic Center.


  • City of West Plains crews install solar powered crosswalk at the intersection of North Howell Avenue and Broadway/Business 63.
  • The city is awarded a $250,000 grant from the Land Water Conservation Fund to continue with improvements at Butler Children’s Park, including the all-inclusive playground and trails.
  • Party in the Path: city task force begins to plan solar eclipse festival in anticipation of total solar eclipse in 2024.


  • Casting Crowns performs at the West Plains Civic Center, the concert was postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • West Plains Tourism Coordinator Melissa Wharton receives the Mo. Department of Tourism Rising Star Award.


  • The 26,316th (and final) solar panel is installed at the West Plains Solar Array.
  • Assistant Fire Chief Kurt Wilbanks named MU FRTI Instructor of the Year.
  • Fire at Lincoln Street Substation causes city-wide power outage.
  • City Council approves the purchase of the property at the corner of Holiday Lane and Sunset Terrace to be utilized as the new City warehouse.


  • The West Plains Police Department announces three promotions and name second K9 Officer.
  • Work begins on the sidewalk project that will improve several neighborhood sidewalks as part of a major capital improvement effort.

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