Ozark Newsletter - September 2019

September 2019 News And Updates
If you have a photo you would like to share in an upcoming newsletter please tag @OzarkMO on Instagram with a caption and the hashtag #BeOzark or email spayne@ozarkmissouri.com.
September edition includes....
  • Mayor's Corner with Ozark Mayor Rick Gardner
  • A Note From Ward I Alderman Nathan Posten
  • Top Things To Do in Ozark
  • Q&A with City Staff: How Can I Spend Labor Day Outside in Ozark?
  • Ozark PD News and Updates
  • Ozark Employee Spotlight!
  • Upcoming Programs & Events

You can always find more information on our website at ozarkmissouri.com and connect with us on our social media pages, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Nextdoor
Hey, Ozark -

I was in my office today and had a man walk in who was visiting with his wife from a small town in rural Illinois outside Chicago. They were about to retire and stopped in to ask about Ozark. They already had a time share in Branson and are considering Ozark, Nixa and Republic for a new place to call home.

Asking me why someone should move to Ozark is as much fun as a hot batch of chocolate chip cookies. I told him we have a lot of things in common with Nixa and Republic like proximity to Springfield amenities, health care, educational opportunities, national airport, interstate highway, low cost of living by Illinois standards (HUGE property taxes) and more restaurants than you could visit in several years of eating out. But why Ozark over the others? Let me tell you what I told him and what you already know:

  • An uncommon and charming sense of place, a uniqueness that other bedroom communities can only dream to have
  • Exciting development on our downtown square and in our Historic River District 
  • The Mill at Finley Farms emerging as a major destination for entertainment and the current Farmer's Market
  • Lots of incredible restaurants from linen table cloths at The Finley to drive-thru cashew chicken at the Golden Dragon
  • A wide variety of housing from historic to modern to new construction
  • Quick access to Branson and Springfield on newly improved Highway 65
  • Finley River Park and its family recreational amenities (where else in the area can you kayak in your own town?)
  • Several walking trails within the city, some concrete and some quite rustic
  • Year-round indoor swimming at The OC
  • Booster Club Rodeos, Fall Arts and Craft Fair, Sertoma Club Rubber Duck Race with Finley River Days and Christmas Lights of Ozark - all in the Finley River Park
  • A very family friendly and conservative demographic
  • As many churches as restaurants
  • A strong and fiscally responsible city government.

I'm sure there are more things you could add to add to this list. Help me make this list longer by sending your suggestions to rgardner@ozarkmissouri.org. Thank you, I'm looking forward to you adding to my list.

Rick Gardner

Help the Mayor "Can The Eagles!"
A note from Nathan Posten, Ward I Board of Alderman
A New Era of Planning & Development

Earlier this year the Board of Aldermen adopted an updated Comprehensive Plan. The plan took nearly a year to complete and represents the work of several city boards as well as residents that participated in community meetings and surveys. The purpose of the plan is to outline long-term goals for the city and to serve as a road map for policy-makers. As the Board’s liaison to Planning & Development, I’m heavily involved in working with staff to craft bills that achieve the goals outlined in the plan.
It can be a long journey for an idea to be crafted into a bill before making it onto our agenda for public debate. There are months of discussions and debates that take place to shape the language of a policy or refine an idea. Many ideas die in the planning phase and never make it on the agenda. Others do succeed, but fail to gain the votes needed to pass.

With all the energy created by a growing city it’s a great time to be involved and have a hand in helping to shape the future of Ozark. So, I thought I would use this opportunity to share with you some of what is going on behind the scenes; to give you an inside look at the ideas that are being debated with the intent of achieving the goals outlined in the Comprehensive Plan and bringing to life a new era of planning and development in Ozark.

Conservation Overlay – Look at ways to identify and preserve wildlife paths to maintain our wildlife populations and a healthy ecosystem. Maintaining our wildlife ecosystem is a vital part of maintaining the small-town feel that we love about living in Ozark. We all want our kids to grow up with deer, turkey, beavers, etc. being as much a part of their daily life in Ozark as they have been for us. Establishing these overlays would preserve wildlife populations and prevent accidents and injuries that can occur when animals meet roadways.

Finley River Overlay – Implement modern development practices along the Finley River to protect water quality. Finley Farms has been a great partner to work with when it comes to sustainable, responsible development practices in an environmentally sensitive area. How can we take the techniques being used with that development and implement them all along the Finley to protect our waterways?

Dark Sky – Define lighting standards to provide adequate lighting to pedestrian and vehicle pathways without creating light pollution. In most modern cities when you look up at night the stars are almost non-existent. The city sky is covered in a haze of white illuminated fog. For Ozark residents, though, we value our rural setting which includes picturesque starry nights. Dark Sky is a national initiative to protect our night time views and we are looking into ways to bring those practices to Ozark.

Permeable Surfaces – Reviewing development policies that would allow and, in some cases, require the use of permeable surfaces for parking lots, trails, driveways, etc. This policy is partly driven by environmental concerns and the protection of the Finley River, but there is also an economic component. Ozark has millions of dollars of storm water infrastructure in the ground and millions of dollars in upgrades are needed. With our topography some of this is unavoidable, but what if a change in building material or vegetation requirements could lessen the need for costly infrastructure?

Zoning Districts – Every generation has different housing desires. Our grandparents lived in neighborhoods with houses and lots of varying styles and sizes. My parent’s generation opted for homogeneous subdivisions with uniform lots sizes, house sizes, and price points. My generation seems to want a bit of everything. And the generation coming up behind me is looking for condos, lofts, and smaller homes on smaller lots. How do we continue to evolve our zoning regulations so that each generation is able to build homes that suits their needs and desires? We are reviewing all our zoning regs and ensuring they meet the needs of new home buyers and as well as current residents.

Trails & Sidewalks – Trails are loved by residents for the recreational opportunities they provide, but they do more than that. For many residents, trails and sidewalks represent an alternative mode of transportation. Inclement weather may lighten use on some days, but they can and do have a measurable impact on traffic congestion. If Ozark had a robust network of pedestrian and bicycle routes you would see less congestion on your work commute, shorter lines outside your kid’s school, and be less impacted when special events come to town. Not to mention the economic benefit for local businesses. We are looking at ways to expand our trail network and searching for outside sources of funding.
Ozark Employee Spotlight
Keaton Garrett, Special Projects Coordinator
Keaton Garrett is the Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Ozark. You may know Keaton if you are signed up for the first ever annual Five and Tri here in Ozark (happening on September 7th!). Keaton's responsibilities for his job include planning race events for Ozark, acquiring partners and sponsorship's, as well as running social media and relations for the races. Currently, Keaton is working on his Business Management Degree as a sophomore. He is a competitive Triathlete and has competed on the national USA Team. In 2017, he placed 4th at the World Championships in Penticton, Canada. Keaton is now training for a half-marathon in Antarctica, titled the Spartan Trifecta, and working hard to get back on the USA Triathlon Team again. Every year he travels to Ethiopia on a medical missions trip to visit a young boy named Christian that he sponsors. When not in school, training or at work, you can find Keaton hiking on the trails, paddling while cleaning the waterways, or reading a book.

Thank you for “Making Ozark Better Every Day,” Keaton! We appreciate your dedication to the City of Ozark!

Ozark City Attorney's Office
How does an idea become a law?
"How does an idea become a law?"
How Do I Request a City Record in Ozark?
"How do I request a City Record?"
Christian County Library Update
For more information on this program, click HERE
Top Things to Do in Ozark:
Top Things To Do In Ozark: The Christian County Library
Have you visited the Christian County Library Ozark Branch?

Deputy Director Katy Pattison gives you a run-down of some of the library's great features - but be sure to go check it out for yourself!

You can click this link to learn more about the Christian County Library.
Ozark Public Works Department
Bingham Heights Project Update

Assistant Public Works Director John McCart gives a breakdown of the road at Bingham Heights. The project has now been completed. Check out the photos below:

You can view more projects on the City website, here.
Bingham Heights Project is now COMPLETED!
Ozark Police Department
News Release: Newly Appointed Ozark Chief of Police
News Release
Date of Release: August 20, 2019

The City of Ozark is pleased to announce that Justin Arnold has been selected as the City’s new Chief of Police, replacing Chief Tim Clothier, who left his position in May 2019. The incoming Chief of Police will be responsible for continuing the community’s high level of policing services, growing successful public safety outreach programs, and providing an important perspective on the City’s management team.

When notified of the appointment, Chief Arnold stated, "I am truly blessed to be entrusted with leading the men and women of the Ozark Police Department. The Ozark Police Department has established itself as an area leader in community oriented policing and problem solving and is dedicated to providing public safety to the citizens of Ozark. We are committed to providing professional police services and building partnerships throughout our community. The Ozark Police Department has an exciting future and I am ecstatic to be selected as Chief of Police."

In regards to the appointment of Chief Arnold, City Administrator Steve Childers states, “After completing a thorough evaluation of candidates, I am confident in my recommendation to promote Captain Justin Arnold to the position of Chief of Police for the City of Ozark. His clear understanding of the mechanics of police management and community engagement, coupled with his proven leadership, will be invaluable assets for our City for years to come.”

Justin Arnold has been serving the City of Ozark for over 14 years in various law enforcement positions. He began his work with Ozark in 2005 as Patrol Officer then in March of 2007 promoted to Narcotics Investigator and Sergeant while assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Task Force Officer. In October of 2015 he transferred to the Patrol Division as a Patrol Sergeant and was then promoted to Lieutenant of the Support Services Division in March 2016. In November 2016, he became Deputy Chief, and then Interim Chief of Police in May 2019.

Arnold earned his bachelor’s degree from Drury University in August of 2009, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He went on to receive his Master of Sociology/Criminal Justice from Lincoln University in December 2018. Arnold has a passion for community policing, transparency in law enforcement, and the development of law enforcement leaders though community engagement and interaction.

His hobbies include spending time outdoors hunting, fishing and coaching his children in sports. Arnold says one of his greatest accomplishment is his family, who all enjoy being active, working on their family farm, traveling and exploring new places.

Please help us congratulate Chief Arnold and his valiant efforts in making Ozark better and safer every day. We will announce the date and time of the promotion ceremony at a later date.
Back-to-School Safety Reminders!
Ozark School District began the 2019-2020 school year on August 15th and Sgt. Jared Drye wanted to remind everyone of safety tips to remember throughout the school year:

Have a great school year Ozark students!
Back to School Safety Tips with the Ozark PD!
Youth Training Program

OPD hosted its second Youth Training Program for kids ages 12-17 on August 6th!

We had 17 participants who learned about community policing, criminal investigations, K9, police equipment and emergency vehicles. A special thank you to our Citizens Academy Alumni Association members who assisted with the event. Thank you to all of the participants, we had a great time!
Park and Recreation Department
OC Member Registration HERE.
Non-Member Registration HERE.
Click HERE to register.
Register HERE.


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