Open Hours of City Government Mon - Fri: 8.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.

Property damage reported at JMB Park

On Monday, July 5, the West Plains Police Department responded to JMB Park for reported property damage. Once on scene, police officers discovered toilets in both the men’s and women’s restrooms had been destroyed with fireworks. West Plains officials estimate at least $700 in damages. The restrooms are currently closed as crews begin to repair the damages.
“It’s frustrating,” said City Parks and Recreation Director Mike Davis. “This isn’t wear and tear, this is intentional damage. We have projects we want to start but when things like this happen, we have to pull money out of the budget which delays our plans.”
City Community Services Director Todd Shanks added, “It’s hard to move forward when we are regularly fixing damage or replacing equipment due to improper usage or in some cases, vandalism.”
Early in June, equipment at the Splash Pad in Butler’s Children Park was damaged due to improper use. The Splash Pad was temporarily closed as a result.
“We don’t want to close parks or bathrooms,” said Shanks. “We are just asking that equipment and facilities be taken care and used properly.”
The City urges individuals who witness or discover damages or vandalism to contact the West Plains Police Department at 417-256-2244.
For information regarding the City’s parks, call the West Plains Parks Department at 417-256-7304.

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City of West Plains hires new Finance Director

Thursday (7/1), the West Plains City Council met in special session and approved the hiring of Earlene Rich as the city’s finance director.

Rich is a Certified Public Accountant and comes to West Plains with 12 years of city government experience. She served as Deputy Finance Director for the City of Littleton, Colorado. In addition to serving the City of Littleton, Rich has worked for the Missouri Department of Higher Education, Missouri State Auditor’s Office, and the Joplin School District

“I can speak for the leadership team when I say we were highly impressed with Earlene’s experience, education, and approach to serving the community,” said West Plains City Administrator Sam Anselm. “I’d like to thank Mayor Topliff and the City Council for their support in making this decision. We have a team of elected officials and employees who care deeply about this community, and the addition of Earlene to our team will greatly enhance our ability to provide good service to our citizens.”

“I am incredibly blessed to join the City of West Plains team as the finance director,” said Rich. “I cannot wait to work alongside these local government heroes and to serve the citizens of West Plains. I will assist the leadership and citizens in making sense of our financial data to guide current decision-making and long-term priorities.”

Rich received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Hannibal-LaGrange University in Hannibal in 2004.

Rich, a native of Waynesville, is looking forward to living and working in West Plains.

“I am especially looking forward to plugging in to the local community and enjoying all that West Plains has to offer – including watching the Zizzers win a game or two and a few relaxing mornings floating down the river.,” said Rich.

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U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.2 Million to Replace Critical Railroad Infrastructure and Support Job Creation in West Plains, Missouri

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.2 million grant to the city of West Plains, Missouri, to make critical railroad infrastructure improvements to support job creation and economic resiliency efforts. This EDA project, to be matched with $3.9 million in other federal, state, and local funds, is expected to create 50 jobs and generate $31.4 million in private investment.

“President Biden is committed to supporting communities in developing safe and resilient infrastructure to serve businesses and create American jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This project will improve transportation safety in the region and will mitigate negative impacts of flooding, improving business resiliency and creating a stronger regional economy.”

“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support the city of West Plains as it works to create sustainable infrastructure for the community,” said Craig Buerstatte, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Regional Affairs.“This EDA investment in the city of West Plains will replace an at-grade railroad crossing on Highway 160 with a bridge and overpass, improving access to businesses and creating jobs.”

“This award announcement is great news for the West Plains community, the local economy, and our state,” Governor Mike Parson said. “Public investments in infrastructure like this one spark millions more in private investment and are critical to expanding workforce opportunities and advancing our economy.”

“This announcement is great news for West Plains,” said Senator Roy Blunt. “The new bridge and overpass will help prevent flood-related road closures that have disrupted local businesses at the critically important industrial park. I’m glad this funding will help the community get the resources it needs to complete a project that has been a years-long priority.” 

“Bringing new construction projects to the City of West Plains is a personal mission of mine. The frequent railroad traffic not only halts traffic, it halts the local economy,” said Congressman Jason Smith (MO-08). “This grant will help us build an overpass that will help local Missourians travel faster and spur new economic development. More importantly this overpass will improve safety, allowing for the passage of emergency vehicles that are all too often stopped due to trains on the railway. It also allows the city’s third-largest employer, DRS Land Systems, the ability to move forward with their expansion plan that will create new jobs in the West Plains area.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the South Central Ozark Council of Governments (SCOCOG). EDA funds SCOCOG to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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City of West Plains Independence Day reminders

Sunday is Independence Day, and many West Plains residents have celebratory plans, ranging from family picnics to a night out. The West Plains Police Departments wants to remind those celebrating with adult beverages not to get behind the wheel, and to designate a sober driver to get home safely.

West Plains Police also want to remind residents of the city’s firework laws:

Sec. 20-44, Discharge of fireworks states, “No individual or organization may discharge fireworks as herein defined, without a permit. Discharging of display fireworks (as defined in the RSMo 320.106.1) will need to be approved by city council, no later than the June council meeting of said year. All state and local applications, permits, and inspections must be completed as well. (RSMo 320.126.1)

Section 28-77,  Rockets, Missiles and Projectiles states, “No person shall construct, use, discharge, fire, launch or explode rockets, missiles or other similar projectiles within the city unless a written permit for such specific purpose has been obtained from City Council.”

The full ordinances pertaining to fireworks is located in the city code book under the Government section of the city website.

“It is important for parents to educate their children on the ordinance and the hazards of improper firework use,” said West Plains Police Chief Stephen Monticelli. “Officers will be given discretion on how to treat violations of the ordinance, which could include written warnings, citations, and/or the confiscation and destruction of the fireworks.”

MONDAY, JULY 5

West Plains City Hall and other city offices will be closed Monday, July 5 in observance of Independence Day. Trash routes for Monday, July 5, will be picked up on Tuesday, July 6. No other routes will be affected that week.

The City’s Solid Waste Transfer Station and Recycle center will be closed on July 5and reopen July 6.

The West Plains Police Department and City of West Plains wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July holiday.

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