Debate continues as Monett roundabout heads to ballot box (2024)

MONETT, Mo. — Monett voters will be able to vote on a potential roundabout at the corner of Broadway and Central Avenue.

It’s part of the Central Avenue Improvement project, an idea that’s been in the works for nearly a decade, which takes Central Avenue (Highway 37) between Broadway and Cleveland Street and expands the road width, new sidewalks and curbs, plus new utility work with storm drains, and includes the roundabout.

The roundabout has sparked controversy, which has led to a petition and special election to determine the fate of the roundabout.

Officials with the city of Monett said while the election is solely about the roundabout if it’s not approved, that sets the project back to square one.

“This is probably the biggest thing to hit Monett in 40 years and it was first voted on in 2015. It went on the ballot as part of a transportation plan, then a tax increase, both of which were approved by the citizens,” Mayor Randy Burke said. “Recently with the petition of that, that project becomes jeopardy.”

Newly elected Mayor Burke said the petition was filed in May and the special election would happen no later than the November General Election.

“We got received the petition here on the 13th of May and then within a month we had the city council had to take action and we did,” Burke said. “If you look at the total cost, it’s going to be probably somewhere around 7.5 million. So 4.5 million that the city would have to pay. Now the problem is if you delay that project or more project delays, it’s going to cost more.”

Burke said other costs would be covered by MoDOT.

Just next to the proposed location, business owner Joey Coatney said he’s all for the roundabout.

“There’s a lot of accidents here. There’s a lot of close calls. It’s a very dangerous intersection,” Coatney said. “[Drivers] get at the stop sign there on Broadway and they have to actually be sticking probably about maybe two foot out to be able to see up Central, and you still don’t get a clear picture and you really can’t see judge distance of how fast you’re going around this curve towards them.”

Burke said a traffic study done has shown the Broadway/Central intersection has three times the crash rate.

Coatney said his business would be bought out to make room for the construction of the roundabout if approved, but said that’s not as important to him as driver safety.

“They’re going to buy my property from me. They’re going to take me out. So as far as that goes, I won’t have a business no more,” Coatney said. “It’s a safety issue of the community and the people within it. As far as what I’m going to get for this place, I have no idea, and I really don’t care at this point.”

Coatney also thinks Monett’s City Council shouldn’t have allowed the issue to go to a vote.

“I think City Council should have handled [it] themselves,” Coatney said. “I don’t understand why they’re letting them bully them into making a different decision on this.”

Burke said it’s state law to either act on the ordinance that was petitioned or go to a vote.

“If you look at Missouri state law, it required. It’s called ordinance by petition and it draws out the 30-day timeline that you have to take action,” Burke said.

Other residents are against the idea.

Against the idea so much, that a banner flies on a business across from Coatney’s that reads “Stop the Roundabout, Call City Hall, Sign the Petition”

Carl Norton said he’s less against the idea of a roundabout, and more about trying to see if it’s justified for the cost while wanting more objective facts to be given out.

“I don’t think that this roundabout project has been well thought out. If you can provide objective justification for it, then I’m not against that,” Norton said. “From my experience here, and as you watch the traffic that goes by here, I can’t see that a roundabout is worth the cost particular to the city of Monett because those numbers are hard to come by. There have been a lot of emotions going from both sides for a variety of reasons. Many people have felt like they were not well informed.”

He said safety isn’t a major issue at the proposed location.

“I’ve lived here since 1995 and I can’t honestly say that this intersection is any more dangerous than others in town,” Norton said. I think one of the the unfortunate things here that we need to all keep in mind and we need to take some responsibility for is because this project is drug out over so many years and we have not been attentive to it. We’ve been busy with other things and not kept up with the news, and so we feel like, ‘oh, they didn’t tell us all the details’. Well, that gate swings both directions, and so we have to all step up and accept that if you’re going to be a citizen now that’s outspoken, it’s time to find the facts and find a reasonable solution.”

City officials said the special election will cost the city $8,000-$10,000.

Debate continues as Monett roundabout heads to ballot box (2024)
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