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Chillicothe News - Chillicothe, MO
  • City may see new wheelchair ordinance

  • The regular meeting of the City Council last night (Monday) included a long list of discussion topics and new ordinances for the city of Chillicothe.
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  • The regular meeting of the City Council last night (Monday) included a long list of discussion topics and new ordinances for the city of Chillicothe.
    A draft of a proposed wheelchair ordinance, giving those on wheelchairs the same rights as pedestrians, was looked over by the councilmen. The ordinance would allow for disabled persons on wheelchairs and electric scooters to operate them on roadways, sidewalks and bicycle paths. It was suggested that electric scooters used only for disability purposes should be added to the ordinance as well. Councilman Second Ward Wayne Cunningham also suggested that the scooters and wheelchairs should operate against oncoming traffic when there is no sidewalk present, which is what foot pedestrians are supposed to do.
    “If we are going to do this, we need to do this how it should be done,” Cunningham said.
    “They're considered pedestrians and should be treated as such,” Councilman Third Ward Tom Douglas said.
    It was also discussed whether scooters or wheelchairs should be allowed to operate on major highways, including Highway 65/Washington Street. According to Missouri state law regarding pedestrians, they are required to operate on sidewalks when they are provided, they cannot cross a street without a crosswalk and can operate on a major highway if the speed limit does not exceed 35 miles per hour.
    Attorney Robert Cowherd will edit the ordinance after considering the input of the councilmen and after looking through Missouri's state law on pedestrians.
    An ordinance was passed to accept a bid on runway maintenance at Chillicothe Municipal Airport. Bishop Construction Company, Inc. provided the lowest bid of nearly $60,000 to cover the improvements, which includes cleaning and sealing joints and cracks, as well as sealcoating and remarking parallel and connecting taxiways. Once MoDOT approves the maintenance, all contractors and subcontractors must be completely qualified under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) program or a similar labor program within 60 days of the maintenance start day for airport construction to continue. No start date has yet been finalized.
    There was also a discussion of improvements made at Green Hills Golf Course. Improvements were done to the course, including fixing a flashing light at the eighth hole, and employees of the course wanted the money for the repairs to be taken out of the golf course improvement fund. It was agreed by consensus that the fund should reimburse the golf course for the improvements already made.
    A 1955 fire truck has been loaned to the Grand River Society Museum since 1998, but because it isn't owned by the museum, employees are not allowed to drive the truck to put on display. Instead, fire department employees were made to drive the truck in parades and to put on display. Fire Chief Darrell Wright and Museum President Marvin Holcer were present to discuss their opinions on leasing the truck to the museum so that the fire department would not be required to drive the vehicle. Holcer said that with a lease, the museum would be able to put the truck under its insurance and perform the required maintenance fixes on it, as well as take it out to put on display.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It's just a part of Chillicothe’s history that we'd like to share,” Holcer said.
    With a lease, the museum would be able to keep the fire truck until it was no longer wanted. Wright's main concern was that the truck should not be able to be taken out of Chillicothe, and that if the museum no longer wanted the truck the fire department should have a say in what happens with the truck. Councilmen will be looking into passing an ordinance approving of a lease of the truck from the fire department to the museum.
    Two addresses, 219 East Polk and 1309 West Cherokee Drive, were annexed into the city limits after the two ordinances were passed.
    There have been complaints from residents that landowners with large properties within the city limits are allowing their grass to grow too high in order to bale hay. Councilmen discussed whether or not baling hay should be allowed within city limits if the property is surrounded by a residential area. Jerry Nibarger, representing Christian Farms, said that though their property does bale hay within the city limits, they mow their grass neatly afterwards.
    “There are people that do a good job,” Nibarger said. “If you make changes, please give us a voice. It's hard to mow to fit requirements, but we try to maintain it. Be aware that all situations are different.”
    “I think that's the problem is that we just need some standards,” Attorney Robert Cowherd said.
    This is a topic that will be further discussed by councilmen, whether they will create standards on baling hay or ban this agricultural activity within city limits.
    The council adopted a new code of ordinances. The code book, which was online, had not been updated since 1999. Through Sullivan Publications, the online code will take roughly one month for the updates to be placed and for it to all be online. It will also show any conflicts ordinances may have with Missouri state statutes. In the past, City Clerk Rozanne Frampton said it was difficult to look up past ordinances because the online code was not user-friendly, and it did not include any updates. She also said that though this code book will cost the council some money, it will be useful. The police department's code book is published online through the same company, and once both code books are updated, they can both easily be referenced online. The ordinance accepting the new online code book was unanimously passed, and will be effective as of Sept. 1.
    The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 12.
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