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Greene County held a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday afternoon on a new Public Safety Center. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore was there and has this report.
[Sound: “One, two three!” ]
City, county, state and federal officials dug shovels into a pile of dirt next to what will soon be the new home of Springfield-Greene County 911 and the Office of Emergency Management.
It will also act as an emergency operations center in the event of a disaster: that means it will be the hub for over 70 federal, state and local response agencies to all work together.
Lastly, it will be home to Missouri’s Homeland Security Oversight Committee Region D—that’s an area that covers 18 counties in southwest Missouri.
Greene County Presiding Commissioner Dave Coonrod spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony. Coonrod, with his usual sense of humor in tow, stressed the need for the new building. He said the emergency offices are currently in a crowded, 100-year-old candy factory building that has serious “thermostat issues.”
"It's just not a pleasant building to work in, I'll leave it at that. It's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter...and sometimes, it's too hot in the winter. Anway, you should go down there if you haven't seen it before we tear it down, which we're looking forward to someday soon," Coonrod said.
Coonrod said that, during the devastating ice storm that hit the Ozarks a few years back, the old building had Missouri National Guard troops sleeping in the elevator.
Also there to usher in the new facility was Congressman Roy Blunt, who helped secure federal funding for the project.
The public safety center bears a price tag of $19.7 million. The funding comes from a variety of places:
About $2.8 million is from the federal government, like FEMA, and the Departments of Justice and Energy grants. The majority of the cost will be paid for in voter-approved 911 Sales Tax funds, which will contribute up to $1 million a year, and bonds.
The 55,000 square-foot building will be located at the intersection of Campbell and Nichols in central Springfield, and is designed to be energy-efficient.
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.