Several members of area government agencies met Monday with the McDonald County Commission to discuss upcoming activities in the area.
Harry Rogers, executive director of the Carl Junction-based Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council, said one thing that will involve the county is a land use survey about areas contiguous to Camp Crowder in Neosho, a Missouri Army National Guard training center.
Others on hand were Jason Ray and Nathan Jurey, HSTCC regional planners; Jeff Hawkins, executive director of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning commission; and Frank Miller, Missouri Department of Transportation district planning director.
Rogers said that a study of the area will be part of the process. He said the camp has some needs to clarify usage on nearby land as it concerns military activities.
Ray said the study will seek ideas on encroachment that hinders military training. For example, it was noted that traffic from the Neosho Municipal Airport is hampering training at the camp. Whenever a fl ight is overhead, soldiers on the firing line for rifle training have to stop until the plane clears the area.
Two committees will be formed.
“Basically, it’s to protect the operations at the military base,” Ray said of the reason for the land use survey. “We’re just trying to find what may interfere now.”
Eastern Commissioner John Bunch asked if there is any defensive underground storage on the base; Ray said he didn’t know the answer to that question. Bunch also said he can hear rifle fire and that of heavier weapons from his home in Goodmanat times.
“On a military compound, I’m not concerned about small arms fire, but what they might bring in,” Bunch said. “It’s not that I don’t trust our government, it’s that I don’t trust our government.”
In response to a question from Western Commissioner David Holloway, the exact spot where McDonald County land hits the base was discussed.
“If we have known residents, they will get a survey, I’m sure” Rogers said.
A joint land use meeting has been scheduled on the Camp Crowder issue for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, in the Neosho High School cafeteria.
A brief discussion of the completion of I-49 from Pineville south into northwest Arkansas was interjected into talk about the defining process of urbanized areas.
As Arkansas makes plans, thanks to the passage of a special tax, to start with a two-lane highway on their side of the border, Miller, the MoDOT representative, indicated there is no defi nite time when the long-awaited project will be approachedby Missouri.
“We have some of the funding,” Miller said, “but not enough to finish up to Arkansas.”
“I can see where we might be the stepchildren on this; that’s my opinion,” Bunch said.
“We were hoping that Missouri would go there with the four-lane through Arkansas,” added Presiding Commissioner Keith Lindquist.
Back to the urbanized areas, Hawkins said the process is completed every 10 years and that McDonald County has been included in northwest Arkansas’ Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) since 2000. He said a transportation study has to include urbanized areas and any area that expects to be urbanized, like the area before Walmart in the southern part of the county. The process has to be completed by a metropolitan planning organization, like the one Hawkins represents.
Hawkins stressed his group exercises no authority, but rather works under a federal planning mandate. Meetings for the public are planned and will be announced.