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Fiber-Optic Broadband Official for Joplin, Missouri

The City Council has given final approval to a development agreement with Nebraska-based Allo Fiber, which will spend $40 million to build out the network. It is expected to be complete by the end of 2026.

Fiber optic cable in black, orange, blue and red is laid out on the ground before it is buried.
(TNS) — A development agreement with Allo Joplin for the construction of a fiber-optic broadband service in the city received final approval of the Joplin City Council.

The company is a division of Allo Fiber, based in Lincoln, Nebraska. It provides high-speed Internet service, TV and phone service to 50 cities in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and Arizona.

Details of the contract and the proposed service were discussed between the council, city staff and Brad Moline, president and CEO of Allo, at a meeting March 11. Moline said the company will spend $40 million on construction of the system and will operate two offices here.

Under the terms of the contract, construction will start soon and is to finish by the end of 2026.

Council member Doris Carlin asked at the meeting Monday night if residents could get monthly updates on the work so they will know where construction is being done. City Manager Nick Edwards said he and the department head in charge of the project, Troy Bolander, are to receive quarterly reports on that and will share the information with the council.

The council approved the final reading of the ordinance 8-1 with member Mark Farnham dissenting.

An effort to file an eminent domain case for condemnation of land in the 200 block of North Cox Avenue met a delay after some council members disagreed with the need for the council ordinance to be approved on an emergency basis to fix a collapsed sewer line.

Dan Johnson, public works director, said city officials have been in negotiations for several months on the property and offered fair market value of $5,500 for a lot that is needed for an easement to replace a collapsed sewer box that has left a depression in the street. He said a family purchased several lots in that area at a tax sale and that there is a hole on the south side of the street where the sewer box has collapsed. Johnson said that county records show a daughter bought the properties but contends her parents own the land in question. The parents contend it is owned by the daughter.

He said that leaves city officials with no choice but to proceed with an eminent domain action to seek a court order allowing the city to buy the property needed to make repairs.

Johnson was asked by council member Ryan Jackson about the need for an emergency ordinance.

"This is a safety issue in that neighborhood," Johnson said. "It is very frustrating to residents who have to put up with a gaping hole next to a park" in their neighborhood.

Jackson asked when it was identified as a safety issue. Johnson said the collapse occurred 18 to 24 months ago, and it was barricaded then. He said the city then began with the engineering and design work needed to plan replacement of the box and determined the cost. City officials have spent about nine months trying to meet with the property owner or owners but have not been able to get their cooperation, perhaps partly because of a language barrier.

The council voted on the emergency ordinance, and it received five "yes" votes, three "no" votes and one abstention.

Mayor Keenan Cortez said the motion failed because under the city code an emergency ordinance needs a two-thirds majority of the council — six votes — to pass. It will have to come back at the council's next meeting for a second reading, he said.

The city code states that emergency, or immediate, action can be taken on "any ordinance for the immediate preservation of the public peace, property, health, safety or morals, containing the statement that an emergency exists and specifying distinctly the facts and reasons constituting such emergency."

The City Council approved:

  • A resolution in support of an application for Community Development Block Grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Joplin Consortium HOME Investment Partnership Program for program year 2024.

  • A resolution in support of an application to a federal program, the Transportation Alternatives Program Grant program, for $600,000 to be used for sidewalk repairs along Seventh Street. The city's share of the repairs is $1.4 million.

  • A work agreement with G&G Construction for $1.012 million to make several repairs at city wastewater plants and a contract for $202,500 with Olsson Inc. for Route 66-area sewer repairs.

  • A contract with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for the Joplin Health Department to receive funds up to $54,400 in reimbursement for staff time and materials to renew the local department's accreditation.

©2024 The Joplin Globe, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.