The land that Love's sits on was previously annexed into the city, but the highway was not.

With its recent annexation of U.S. 61 and Highway 19 on the south end of town, the City of New London is prepared for future prosperity and increased safety.

City Clerk Millie Powell said the annexation includes Business 61 on the south end of town, from the former New London Elementary School building to Love’s Travel Stop on Highway 19, along with U.S. 61 from the viaduct to the 5th St. entrance. She said Love’s petitioned for the annexation, and she is in the process of drafting a petition to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to annex U.S. 61 from 5th St. to New London’s northern city limits. Powell said a lot was going on in New London, and the annexation could potentially bring in new businesses along U.S. 61, along with the opportunity for New London police officers to patrol the highways and curb speeding.

Powell said New London police officers have been patrolling the highway on the south end of town, helping to curb speeding. During a May meeting hosted by MoDOT officials to discuss potential intersection improvements at Route A and U.S. 61, citizens asked if the speed limit could be lowered on U.S. 61. MoDOT officials responded that their research showed that wasn’t effective for every motorist. Powell said the added enforcement seemed to be helping slow down traffic, particularly for vehicles coming from the south.

The land that Love’s sits on was previously annexed into the city, but the highway was not. Powell said that it was a learning experience to annex a highway, noting the process was different from that with other parcels of land. New revenue from sales and gas taxes was already providing a boost to the city, and she said the situation was the best she had ever seen since she’d been in City Hall. She noted that the city’s sewer system has been extended to the south, allowing for future businesses to hook into the network.

Powell said Love’s asked to be annexed in, and she said tax revenue was helping to pay for the sewer project scheduled for completion by December and contractor projects like demolition work and construction for the new NECAC office.

Looking to the future, construction will soon begin for a new Casey’s General Store, and Powell said New London could see increasing benefits from tax revenue during the next fiscal year, once the projects in town are complete. Overall, the annexation has provided funds and potential for expansion that New London didn’t have in previous years, and Powell said she looked forward to seeing what the future would bring for the city.

“It’s been a good thing for the city, and it feels like we’re moving forward instead of kind of at a stalemate,” Powell said.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com