Missouri Community Betterment Judges are scheduled to be in Salem today (Tuesday) to tour the city and hear project presentations, it was announced at the recent board of aldermen meeting.

The judges will be hearing the presentations from 8 to 9:45 a.m. in the north meeting room at the Ozark Natural and Cultural Resource Center on Main Street, city administrator Ray Walden said.

Projects to be discussed include the new county jail and the renovation of the old city hall auditorium into a civic theater. The meeting is open to the public.

A conditional use permit for a new pub at 206 W. Fourth St. was also approved by aldermen last week.

The planning and zoning commission had voted to recommend approval after a hearing just prior to the aldermen meeting.

The Saucy Chook Pub, owned by AJ Schafer and Tina Cook, will serve buffalo wings with a variety of sauces, fried appetizers and other pub food. It will also offer wine, beer and spirits, with many of the wines and beers produced locally or in the immediate area.

The historical structure and its facade are being preserved and improved with a general motif in keeping with the era when it was built, according to the permit application.

Concerns about parking on Fourth Street were addressed at the P&Z hearing. City clerk Mary Happel said that, according to city ordinances, parking requirements are met if the business is within three blocks of a public parking lot. There are three city lots nearby, she said.

P&Z member Jerry Craig said Salem is lacking in downtown foot traffic and needs more businesses like the one proposed. “I would think a place like this would attract perhaps young people,” he said.

“I think it’s a great thing to try to get things like this downtown for the younger generation,” Happel said. “I’ve seen them in other cities I go to and they’re just packed.”

Before the P&Z board voted to recommend approval of the permit, owner AJ Schafer said he didn’t think parking would be a problem.

“My thinking with parking is we have the entire downtown,” he said. “We also have a number of different public lots. And to some extent, may be a need to change the way we view parking in Salem when we go to a venue like that.”

He added, “Other towns have similar parking conditions and they make it work. So my feeling is there’s plenty of parking well within walking distance.”

Aldermen approved P&Z’s recommendation for a conditional use permit 4-0.

In other action, the board approved a request by First Baptist Church to close streets and hold a fireworks display Oct. 5 at its Fall Fest Spectacular. Sections of West First and North Grand will be closed from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. display.

The board also approved a request by Grace Community Church to block South Water Street from the south end of the parking lot to the corner of Water and Franklin streets from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 15 and 4 to 9 p.m. Oct. 30 for community outreach events.

Aldermen set the annual fall cleanup for Oct. 7-11, the week following the community-wide yard sale on Oct. 5.

In his report, Walden said he is working on scheduling interviews for finalists for parks and recreation director. The position has been vacant since May. He said he hopes to hold the interviews over the next two weeks and, if an offer is accepted, have an announcement soon thereafter.

He also announced that a series of Economic Development Strategic Plan workshops concluded recently, with economic developer Sally Burbridge in the process of compiling the results to present to aldermen.

On another matter, Walden said a review is planned of services offered at the city admin building with an eye toward reorganizing to improve service delivery with existing staff. The results of the review will come back to aldermen as recommendations.

The board approved two ordinances and one resolution related to the hangar project at the airport, extending a consulting agreement with H.W. Lochner Inc. for construction design services and extending the timeline for a block grant agreement with MoDOT into 2020. The project is expected to be bid sometime next year.