By Mike Elswick
The signs of growth are all around Neosho.
Those signs include a mountain of dirt moved into place across from Neosho High School; commercial construction workers on site at multiple locations; a new small business opening for the first time; and an over the road big rig truck sales and service center opening its doors.
Mike Franks, executive director of the Neosho Area Business and Industrial Foundation, said there is more to come.
According to city building permits issued since the start of the current fiscal year on Oct. 1 last year through early August there have been more than $10.1 million worth of construction permits issued.
A new retail home for Orscheln Farm and Home is under construction as is a new Neosho Junior High School campus; Freightliner in the past week opened its new Neosho sales and service center at the intersection of Interstate 49 and Exit 27; MoJoe’s Coffee opened on Saturday on Neosho Boulevard and mounds of red dirt mark the future location of a new Dollar General Store slated to rise on boulevard.
Neosho Freightliner has 18 employees and a significant inventory of trucks on the lot already, he said.
“They’re part of Missouri Freightliner and have made a substantial investment here,” Franks said Tuesday at an economic development committee meeting of the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce. “MoJoe’s (Coffee) just opened and their sales are off the chart.”
He said a marketing plan recently completed for the city developed in conjunction with Missouri Southern State University is going to be a big asset in continuing to lure new business and industry.
“This study allows us to prove to prospects we have the business to justify them coming here,” Franks said. One of the projects on the horizon is a new 25-unit assisted living facility whose owners are working with the city to get some acreage annexed inside the city limits.
On the housing front, he said there are now outside developers who have become interested enough in the growth going on in Neosho and surrounding area the are building affordable housing. Also in the works is a new 40-unit duplex project that could rise on the city’s south side in coming months, Franks said.
“Half of our housing inventory is inadequate,” he said.
Neosho City Manager Troy Royer said the city’s sales tax revenues are running about 2 percent ahead of last year’s pace serving as a good barometer the local economy is slowly and steadily growing.
On the industrial front, Franks said K&S Wire officials feel confident enough about the future with new contracts they have gotten they are doing a 50,000-square-foot expansion. Another business park firm, Scholastic, likes what they are seeing in the local workforce enough to extend the company’s lease until 2022, he said.
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