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Answer Man: What’s the big building under construction just west of the Galloway Full Gospel Church near the West Bypass? — Bill Lippelmann, of Willard
Bill was holding a golf club when he asked me that. It was a little club.
That’s because he was playing miniature golf Sept. 7. I was on assignment for a story I wrote about Fun Acre, which has been around since 1972.
My job as Answer Man often involves large piles of dirt; sometimes deep holes; and occasionally a huge building under construction.
You might call me a triple threat.
So on Sept. 28, I went to see this alleged construction site.
It’s on West Bennett Street, just east of where Bennett intersects with West Bypass. It’s the intersection where if you’re on West Bypass, you turn west to get to Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park.
A second church and second construction site
I discovered an oddity in Bill’s directions. Within a small space, there are two churches, not just one, and two construction sites, as well.
I wondered: Would I meet my Bizarro arch-nemesis, the Question Man?
As mentioned by Bill, there’s the Galloway Full Gospel Church, but on the same block is the 1st Free Will Baptist Ozark Heritage Campus.
Near the driveway to the 1st Free Will Baptist Ozark Heritage Campus is a sign that says “Private Property No Trespassing.”
I’ve been to unwelcoming churches in my life — places where nobody said “Hello” to me at coffee time — but this seemed beyond unwelcoming.
Actually, I’m confident the sign was for the parallel rocky driveway for the neighboring 9.8 acres, where construction is under way.
This is the project Bill asked about. I saw four buildings taking shape. They will be used for storage, just like the storage on the other side of West Bypass and just like the storage — it seems to me — going up on every corner of Springfield where there isn’t already a dollar store or a Kum & Go.
According to the official paperwork posted at the site, the company is Josan Properties, LLC, based in Rogers, Arkansas.
One answer wasn’t enough this time
Now what? There I was, between construction sites, one on either side of West Bennett.
I decided to find out what’s going in on the north side of the street, as well.
This parcel is 4.55 acres; it was posted with a grading permit for Radmacher Land & Equipment Management Company, LLC, of Pleasant Hill, a town just outside Kansas City.
Heavy machinery was there, but it wasn’t moving. The equipment was as still as bison in snow during a Yellowstone winter.
I entered a nearby large shed (that had its doors open, officer) and deduced this was the business site of All About Trees upon seeing the words, “All About Trees,” on all the vehicles.
A young man, who perhaps knows all about trees, didn’t know what was going to be built next door. All About Trees doesn’t own the neighboring property, he said.
I proceeded east and entered the Galloway Full Gospel Church, where I believe I was mistaken as a mourner for the funeral service about to begin.
No, I explained, I came to inquire about the vacant parcel of land nearby.
I asked Brian Cole, the church’s associate pastor, my question — my bonus question, if you will — What’s going in at the vacant lot nearby?
“When you find out, let me know,” Cole said, adding that the land once had many trees.
Years ago — actually decades ago — there was a go-kart track there, he said.
I picked up the hotline and called the Deputy Answer Man
I found no public record of a go-kart track ever being at that location. I mostly combed through Springfield News-Leader archives.
So I picked up my Deputy Answer Man hotline to speak directly to John Sellars, executive director emeritus of the History Museum on the Square in Springfield and the official Deputy Answer Man of the Springfield Daily Citizen.
Alas, Sellars knew nothing of a public go-kart track ever being there.
Nevertheless, a Google satellite image clearly shows the outline of an oval track.
Perhaps it was a go-kart track, but one not open to the public.
At this point, dear reader, I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking about that bison reference and that I should stop now.
Soon, but not now.
Here’s your bonus answer
I called Radmacher Land and Equipment Management Company and talked to Chris Carsten, project manager for whatever is happening on the land on the north side of West Bennett.
The company, which is working on the $26 million Grant Avenue Parkway project in Springfield, will build a regional office at the site.
If all goes well, Carsten says, construction should start in the spring and end by the summer of 2024.
Yes, he said, he’s been told there once was a go-kart track, but he doesn’t know when and he doesn’t know details.
“But we did see some asphalt out there and it was old and broken up,” he said.
This is Answer Man column No. 54.