ROCKAWAY BEACH, Mo. – Thanks to some help from the state, a longtime neighborhood concern in Rockaway Beach will finally see some improvements.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development gave the city a grant worth nearly half a million dollars. Mayor Jim Harriger says the money will be used to make street repairs and drainage improvements.
“This is going to make our downtown area more viable for the businesses, the residents and the new Airbnb businesses that are coming to town,” Harriger said. “Rockaway [Beach] has struggled in past years but is really excited about where we are going into the future.”
Harriger says Taney County will match $25,000, and his city will also provide $25,000. It brings the total for this project to more than $507,000.
“Our roads in this area have not had work done on them for quite a few years,” Harriger said. “I’ve been here five years. I don’t know how long before that it’s been since major work has been done.”
The area’s ditches and culverts have gotten in worse shape over time. When Rockaway Beach gets a rainstorm, water often overflows from hilly roads onto a main street.
“Then we have to come along and scoop it back up and dispose of it,” Harriger said.
Sometimes, buildings on the lower level of a hill have flooded.
“While [this grant] is not fixing all of our roads in the community, it is certainly doing what we can do right now in improving our downtown area,” Harriger said.
These improvements will take almost two years. First, more engineering work needs to be done, and then bids will go out for drainage improvements and road repairs. Those bids must be collected, reviewed and approved.
“Progress is exciting, but sometimes it just takes time,” Harriger said. “It takes more time than what you and I would ever like, but it’s just part of the process.”