Don Schnieders Excavating Company is set to break ground May 15 on the long-awaited multimodal transload facility.
Construction is expected to be finished by the end of the year, barring delays, and operations could start in early- to mid-2024.
The start of the project marks the culmination of some 16 months of planning and preparations by Cole County, Jefferson City and the state.
Multimodal refers to the transportation of goods through multiple modes of transport, while transload refers to the actual process of moving a shipment from one mode of transportation to another. The multimodal transload facility coming to Cole County will allow the movement of cargo between trains and road vehicles, such as semi trucks.
The update on the project's groundbreaking was given Tuesday to the Cole County Commission by county public works director Eric Landwehr.
Landwehr told the commissioners about the project's progress after asking for approval to make an amendment to the county's grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). The MoDOT grant is reimbursing the county $880,000 for project costs.
The amendment, Landwehr said, was needed to fix a miscommunication that wouldn't have let the county receive the full reimbursement.
Currently, Cole County has the MoDOT grant, an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant and an $800,000 city-county cooperative fund.
In total, Landwehr said, roughly $3.2 million have been raised for the project. The total contracted cost is $4.3 million.
He said Union Pacific is going to add some money to that, and he and Luke Holtschneider from Jefferson City Regional Economic Partnership are still actively pursuing other funding sources for the project.
Holtschneider said they submitted an application for a $200,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant that they'll hear about by late spring or early summer.
"The biggest one that we're continuing to track, that my superstitiousness doesn't want me to really discuss much of, is some potential assistance through the state legislative body on an appropriation to complement and I think further match the local and federal and other state investments going into the project," Holtschneider said.
He said that funding is currently in a Missouri House of Representatives transportation budget bill. They'll know the outcome of the bill by the end of the week, Holtschneider said.
In another update at Tuesday's meeting, Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell advised the commission to change a county ordinance concerning medical records.
Campbell explained that years ago, the county joined St. Louis County's prescription drug monitoring program. The program allowed doctors and pharmacists to see what prescription drugs patients were taking, thus preventing abusers from obtaining multiple prescriptions from different places.
Last year, Campbell said, the state implemented its own monitoring program statewide.
The issue is that Cole County's ordinances don't allow the county to share medical records from that system with the state. So unless that language is changed, the old database will be destroyed and the state will have to start from scratch as it starts its new program.
"So they won't be able to say whether so-and-so's grandma is in the nursing home and when she needs to get off that medicine so it's not contra-indicated for the new medicine the doctor prescribes," Campbell said.
Campbell said they're currently waiting on St. Louis County to send some sample language for what the ordinance change could look like.
Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher said he was leery of giving the state access to Cole County citizens' medical records.
Western District Commissioner Harry Otto presented a hypothetical scenario to demonstrate the importance of having access to those old records.
"Grandma X has had a history of prescriptions and three years ago when this one prescription was given to her she almost died. Wouldn't her caregivers like to know that she had a terrible reaction to that and we're never going to give her that again?" Otto asked.
Campbell said if a patient keeps the same doctor and pharmacist, something like that shouldn't happen. It would be another story if a doctor or pharmacist changed, however.
Within Campbell's own family, she said, a family member in a different state without a monitoring program was on several prescription drugs prescribed by different doctors leaving her unable to even play cards.
Otto said one of the reasons for the monitoring program was to stop drug abusers from getting multiple prescriptions. The other benefit, he said, is to non-abusers.
"I really don't think you have to have this system to find out my medical history," Hoelscher said.
Campbell said it's just an extra tool for doctors and pharmacists.
In other action, the commission:
Awarded the bid for concrete and concrete products in 2023 to the lowest bidder with availability. Landwehr explained this means when concrete and concrete products are needed, the county will reach out to the lowest bidder and see if they're available to provide the service.
The county received bids from Farmers Concrete, Wieberg Red-E-Mix and Cole County Industries.
Signed a sub-award agreement giving funds to Cole County's Emergency Management Department for generator load testing, sustaining the hazmat team, badging and the Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC).
Awarded the bid for building the sheriff's department a data room to Little Dixie Construction for nearly $1.5 million. Sheriff John Wheeler said he recommended Little Dixie, despite its bid being in the middle and not the lowest, because they'll complete the project in 285 days; that's 45 days shorter than the other bids. He also said Little Dixie recently did construction at the Callaway County Jail.
Signed a parking lease agreement with Jefferson City. Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman said the county has been looking for a parking lot for the sheriff's department since it provided a lot to Emergency Medical Services. The lot is located at 317 Adams St., and the rent owed to the city is $500 per month.
The commissioners ended the meeting by going into a closed session to discuss personnel issues. The meeting also started 30 minutes early with a closed session to discuss existing or proposed security systems, according to the meeting agenda.
The full meeting, minus the closed sessions, can be watched at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em1dSJ-EYio