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

Party in the Path: City task force developing solar eclipse festival

On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will trace a narrow path of totality across 13 U.S. states. Included in the path of totality is the City of West Plains, which will seek to commemorate the rare occurrence through a four-day festival called “Eclipse West Plains: Party in the Path.”

The festival is being organized through a community task force spearheaded by the City’s Tourism Department. That task force will develop a schedule of events and activities built around the eclipse, with similar festivals proving to be very popular in 2017.

“This is a very exciting time for West Plains to have the opportunity to see a natural phenomenon while hosting many visitors from across the Midwest,” said West Plains Tourism Director Melissa Wharton. “It’s our time to show off this beautiful area in which we live. I am on the state-wide task force for the solar eclipse where I am learning best practices from the Missouri cities that were in the path of totality in 2017.”

The eclipse will begin in West Plains at 1:54:28 p.m. and last for approximately three minutes.

Total solar eclipses happen when the New Moon comes between the Sun and Earth and casts the darkest part of its shadow, the umbra, on Earth.

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Discounted tickets available to Casting Crowns

First responders, Law enforcement personnel, front line workers, and more (hospital, emt, air med, city personnel) can buy $22 discounted tickets to Friday Casting Crowns concert at the West Plains Civic Center.

This is a box office only offer so they will need to come to the civic center to get the tickets. 

“We are very excited to finally get to see this show come to life after an 18-month delay,” said Civic Center Director Eryn Walters. “Casting Crowns never disappoints and having Matthew West touring with them will be a show you won’t want to miss out on.”

Doors open at 6 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m.

For questions, call the West Plains Civic Center at 417-257-0409.

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Mayor signs proclamation, world-renowned artist visits West Plains

Thursday morning Mayor Mike Topliff signed a proclamation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Last year, Missouri ranked second in the United States for incidents of domestic violence. The proclamation was presented to Christos House Executive Director Moira Seiber.

Christos House hosted public event Wednesday to help shed light on this serious issue that affects women and men in the Ozarks. World-renowned African artist Bolaji Ogunwo painted a mural inside the Christos House resale shop during the event. The title of the mural is, “Helping Hands.”

Ogunwo has more than fifty international art exhibitions to his credit. He currently is a studio artist and painting lecturer at the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, Akoka.

Ogunwo came West Plains to visit friends, Crockett and Tonya Oaks, who met the artist when they lived in Africa. He was a featured artist for a program the Oaks started in Lagos called, “Art Anyone,” designed to bring area artists together with expatriates to exhibit and sell their art.  Crockett Oaks said the couple “fell in love with his work.”

Crockett Oaks is Director of Business and Support Services at MSU-West Plains, and currently serves on the Christos House board of directors.

Christos House provides emergency shelter and outreach services for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Carter, Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Shannon, Texas, and Wright counties.

Christos House also helps victims with rent, utilities, and clothing and offers a diaper program and parenting classes free to the community.

The West Plains Resale store is located at 125 Jefferson Avenue in West Plains (the former Daily Quill building).

Shopping hours are 10 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday and from 10 am to 2 pm on the first and third Saturdays of each month. Items for sale include clothing, shoes, furniture, toys, books and household items.

Persons needing help can call the Christos House hotline, 1-800-611-5853.

For information, or to donate money or items for the resale shop, call Christos House at 417-256-3408 visit christoshusemo.org, or visit the store.

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Council passes three ordinances

The West Plains City Council met in regular session Monday, Sept. 20, in the Council Chamber at West Plains City Hall.

The Council passed three ordinances unanimously during the meeting.

Ordinance 4691: An Ordinance prohibiting the parking of motor vehicles on Allen Street from East Olden to the north.

Ordinance 4692: An Ordinance of the City of West Plains, Missouri to amend and replace the following three existing sections of the City Code, Chapter 44, Section 44-64 Duty to Maintain Financial Responsibility, Section 44-78 Stop for School Bus, and Section 44-132 Slow Speed; Impeding Traffic. 

Ordinance 4693: An Ordinance to authorize the Mayor to execute the agreement between Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative and the City of West Plains, Missouri.

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Mayor signs Constitution Week Proclamation

City of West Plains Mayor Mike Topliff, joined by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), has signed a proclamation honoring Constitution Week. Constitution Week is celebrated annually September 17-23.

This celebration of the Constitution Week was started over 60 years ago by the DAR. In 1955, DAR petitioned Congress to set aside September 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week. The resolution was later adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into public law on August 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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Splash Pad to close for fall, winter months

The final day to day to enjoy the Splash Pad at People’s Park will be Sept. 21, the last day of summer. The Pad will be shut down until spring of 2022. An official opening date will be announced later.

“In the last five months, we have seen a large number of area youths utilize the Splash Pad at People’s Park,” said City of West Plains Community Services Director Todd Shanks. “Seeing the kids enjoy the Splash Pad has been great. We appreciate all the support we received leading up to the creation of the Splash Pad and look forward to turning the Splash Pad back on next Spring”.

The Splash Pad is the first phase of a larger project that will include additional play equipment, walking trails, fencing, and parking spots at the park.

For more information call the Parks & Rec Department, 417-256-7304.

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Food Pantry Box to Be Removed from People’s Park Pavilion

The City of West Plains, in cooperation with the West Plains Giving Tree group, will be removing the food pantry next to the People’s Park Pavilion due, in part, to an increase in vandalism and criminal activity at the pavilion.

The two groups, along with any interested organizations and churches in the area, will work together in hopes of finding a long-term solution for the food scarcity problem in the area. This could include finding a more suitable permanent location for a food pantry.

In 2016, the West Plains Giving Tree group installed the wood box to store food items to feed individuals and families in need. Over the years, the West Plains Parks Department, like the Police, have seen an increase in public safety concerns, with the box being frequently damaged and vandalized. The pavilion is now frequently tagged with graffiti, with many residents now fearful of using the pavilion for its intended purpose of a providing a safe gathering spot for families and groups.

“While we recognize there is a very real need for a food pantry in West Plains, the amount of vandalism and suspicious activity we are seeing at the pavilion warrants removal of the pantry,” said West Plains Police Chief Stephen Monticelli, who cited the pantry’s location in a public park frequented by children and families as “problematic.”

Food Scarcity in West Plains

The decision to remove the pantry was not easy to make due to the City’s concerns associated with food scarcity.

According to The University of Missouri Hunger Atlas, food insecurity is ‘very high’ for southern Missouri, including Howell County.

According to the report, one in six children in Missouri live in food insecure households. The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

In Howell County, 22.3% of children under 18 years old live with food insecurity, which is 5% higher than the state average.

“I’d like to thank the organizers of the Giving Tree for bringing attention to a serious issue in Howell County, as well as our citizens who have supported the Giving Tree over the years by donating items,” said City Administrator Sam Anselm. “I think that spirit of giving will continue as we work together as a community to develop a long-term solution to our food insecurity issues.”

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City Hall to close for Labor Day

West Plains City Hall and other city offices will be closed Monday, September 6 for the Labor Day holiday.

Monday trash routes will be run on Tuesday, September 8. No other routes affected.

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Area firefighters raise $8,500 for MDA

For 67 years firefighters across the nation have collected critical funds in the community – one dollar at a time – as part of the MDA Fill the Boot program.

West Plains-area Fire Departments continued the long-standing tradition Saturday (8/28) as its members participated in the annual Fill the Boot program to raise critical funds to help transform the lives of kids and adults with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related muscle-debilitating diseases. Donations help MDA continue services for more than 250,000 people living with neuromuscular diseases across the country and help continue funding life-saving research.

Dedicated firefighters from the West Plains Fire Department, Howell County Rural – District 1 Fire Department, Pomona Fire Department, Peace Valley/White Church Fire Department, and the Pumpkin Center Fire Department took donations from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at three different locations in West Plains. In total, $8500 was raised.

“The West Plains-area Firefighters and Fire Departments would like to thank the community for their support this year with the MDA Boot drop,” said West Plains Assistant Chief Kurt Wilbanks.

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Exterior updates to be done at the West Plains Civic Center

Work is underway to repair and refresh the exterior of the West Plains Civic Center. The exterior of the building uses an Exterior Insulation and Finish System, commonly referred to as EIFS.

EIFS is an exterior wall cladding that utilizes rigid insulation boards on the exterior of the wall sheathing with a plaster appearance exterior skin. While moisture can get behind just about any exterior surface on a home, the plastic nature of the EIFS synthetic stucco coatings tends to trap moisture.

The EIFS has not been cleaned or repaired since the building was built back in 1993. 

“Everyone likes to make a great first impression and ours is getting some much-needed love,” said West Plains Civic Center Director Eryn Walters. “It was night and day difference when we painted the interior of the building, so now we are eagerly watching the gradual changes as the days come.  The EIFS repairs has been something the staff has talked about for a while, so it is exciting to see this project come to fruition.”

Work is expected to be completed by the end of October and includes:

  • Pressure washing of all masonry and EIFS surfaces
  • Visually inspecting mortar joints, cutting out and re-painting deteriorated joints
  • Removing and replacing up to 50 deteriorated bricks at various locations
  • Cutting out and re-caulking all vertical expansion joints
  • Cutting out and re-caulking the perimeter of all windows and doors and louvers
  • Patching areas of deteriorated/loose EIFS
  • Removing 1-foot-tall continuous strip of EIFS on South elevation at pool wall
  • Removing and replacing wall flashing, then replacing EIFS
  • Applying waterproof coating to all EIFS surfaces
  • Applying clear water repellant sealer to all masonry surfaces

“If the EIFS repairs were to continue to go unattended it could potentially lead to mold and the breakdown of our bricking system because of the moisture that is able to get into the deteriorated EIFS areas,” said Walters.

Portions of the Civic Center campus could be roped off at times during the work, but the Civic Center will remain open. If you have questions, call the Civic Center at 417-256-8087.

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