The city of Pacific will be seeking two grants to make roadside improvements.

The grants would add sidewalks and flowers near the Lamar Parkway exit ramps. The grants would cover much of the costs of the two projects with the city footing the rest of the bill through community improvement district money.

The first request is for a MoDOT Beautification grant for landscaping the area between the ramps at Lamar Parkway. 

“It was just left to grow up and run wild,” Alderman Steve Myers said. 

The grant would help make landscaping improvements. Myers said the intention was, if the ramp looks nice, it may entice people to exit into Pacific and spend their money in town.

Myers said the area has been looked at for improvements and recently City Administrator Harold Selby “found” some money earmarked for Pacific. Myers said the grant was for cities that fit Pacific’s size and demographics. 

Myers said there is currently $160,121.79 available for the city to use.

“If we don’t use it, we lose it,” he said. 

Myers said landscaping designs have already been made. 

The plants would be low maintenance and would require very little water. Myers said right now an irrigation system isn’t in the plans, but it could potentially be added at no extra cost. 

The plants would be colorful and would stay colorful year-round.

“It’s pretty exciting to take something that is really an eyesore and make it into something beautiful and striking,” Myers said. “Maybe people would come off the highway and say, ‘Hey, Pacific really looks like they have their act together.’”  

The area is currently maintained by MoDOT. Myers said MoDOT would be willing to turn over maintenance to the city. 

Myers said MoDOT is working with the city to help secure funds for the landscaping and a Welcome to Pacific sign. 

With the project still in the developmental stage, the numbers are still not finalized. However, Myers said if the entire grant is secured, the city could be on the hook for as much as $68,140. 

The high cost drew gasps from people at the meeting, but Myers said because the area is in the CID district, the money would not come from the city’s general fund. 

Selby said the CID district account is currently being used to pay off the city’s portion of the ramp. He said the last payment is close to being made and, after that, the city could use the CID ffor the enhancements. 

“This has zero effect on the general revenue and the CID can support it,” Selby said. 

Myers said all he was requesting from the board was permission to apply for the grant. While the application is pending, the board could further research the project. 

If the grant was approved and the board decided against doing the project, it could simply vote down the grant.

Selby said approval was needed at the meeting because the application was due soon.

The city also plans to apply for a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant through the East-West Gateway Council of Governments. The grant, if approved, would be for sidewalks along Lamar Parkway and Osage to Hoven Drive. 

Myers said the sidewalks would allow residents to walk to city hall. 

The project would cost $147,718 with $118,000 from the federal TAP grant. The city would chip in $76,634 from CID money. The deadline to apply for a TAP grant is July 31. 

The board unanimously agreed to apply for both grants.