When the new Alternate Route 63 opened up just to the east of Kirksville this past October, for many residents, it was the end of safety concerns and less traffic congestion meaning more peace and quiet. But that peace and quite would come with also a bit uncertainty with business sales, leading many to wonder if the alternate route has affected city businesses on the now Business 63. It depends who you ask.
Holly Lynch who is the owner of the Macon and two Kirksville McDonald??s has seen the difference and her Kirksville restaurants have felt a bit of an impact.
"We've lost some of the travelers. Kirksville is certainly a great place to be, we really do well in Kirksville and we still get all the locals. But we have lost some of the travelers. We are about 10% less than the rest of the region is doing with sales," Lynch said.
But in other businesses such as the Super 8 Motel on the South end, Manager Dondi Bates said the motel hasn??t felt much of an impact since their visitors have a purpose to come into town.
"We are doing well right now, " Bates said. "Of course, this is the time of year we are always slow anyway. But we have had a pretty good January and we are looking forward to be that way for February and on through the year."
With some rising concerns of how the sales tax is being impacted, Kirksville City Manager Mari Macomber and city officials are looking into it.
"One of the things I have asked my staff to do is to monitor the sales tax. We've just ended the fiscal year so we don't have the sales tax reports yet. But that is something we are going to be doing," Macomber said. "At this point, we really don't know the full impact...yet."
Even though it??s still too early to tell if there the alternate route has had any impact on city sales, many businesses have agreed on one thing?|more signage.
"Right now it would be relatively easy, especially coming south on 63, for somebody to just pass Kirksville before they even know they were there," Lynch said.
"Several people have told me that they have gotten lost because the signage doesn't direct them to town," Bates said.
So with a lot of businesses in the City of Kirksville that are concerned that not a lot of signs are being put on Alternate Route 63 near the exit routes to let people know to come into town to see the businesses, KTVO went to MoDOT to get some answers.
"Right now, we have placed some general service signs on the south interchange to tell people that there is food, gas, and lodging in Kirksville, " Said Brian Untiedt, Traffic Operations Engineer for MoDOT.
"There has been additional signage that the city has worked with MoDOT to put up so people traveling know this is the entry way to Kirksville, " Macomber said.
And more changes are also on the way for the North end.
"We've referred Missouri Logos to the town to talk to the businesses about having some signs up on the north interchange where they can do some logos to tell people specific types of restaurants, hotels, and gas stations that are there," Untiedt said.
MoDOT is also reviewing their Code of State Regulations to see what else can be done to help keep the sales up in Kirksville and to keep travelers come by and see this amazing city that many of us call home sweet home.