March 19, 2008 Edition

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WR supports ADN application

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge City Council agreed to support an effort to revitalize the city's downtown area and discussed street paving and drainage problems at their regular meeting on March 11.

Councilmen passed a resolution allowing a local committee to submit an application to participate in the Arkansas Downtown Network for a minimum of three years.

Arkansas Downtown Network is an arm of Main Street Arkansas but costs less and does not require a full-time employee. ADN is run by a volunteer board.

Also, the local committee has to have $4,200 on hand and maintain at least that amount in their budget for three years in order to meet the network's requirements.

The council also discussed drainage.

"We have a lot of ditch cleaning to do," Alderman Michael "Button" Wallin told the council. "The fire department has been assisting us in this effort. We need to mop out the ditches to keep water from standing on our streets or we're wasting money to pave or seal them."

Alderwoman Paula Haskins told the council she would like to see some paving started on the city's streets, and Mayor Michelle Rogers said several need attention.

"We can seal streets on four or five blocks for the same price as paving just one with asphalt costing $82 a ton," Alderman Johnnie Fears said.

The council was told the cost of asphalting a city block would be $5,000 or more. Alderman Ron Smith explained that the sealing process protects what's already paved. "It's not the same as paving," he said.

Mayor Rogers told the council they need to figure out what they want to do, where to start and what the city can afford.

"The city has received bids on equipment for the fire department, which will be paid for with a $114,303 grant from FEMA," Wallin told the council. "The Federal share of the grant is $108,588, and the city's share is $5,715."

Fire Chief Alan Haskins informed the council of the lowest bidders for the equipment they plan to purchase. "Kearby's Radio of Walnut Ridge bid $519.90 per pager with a five-year guarantee for 25 pagers; Paragould Communication bid $533.52 per radio for 16 portable radios; Pro-Fire's Cascade system, fill station, cylinder rack bid was $35,829; Pro-Fire bid $2,065 per set for 25 sets of turn outs; and Pro-Fire also bid $3,439 for 10 SCOTT S.C.B.A. face pieces, which OSHA recommends."

The council voted unanimously to accept all the bids.

In other business:

  • Mayor Rogers told the council that the city has been approved for an Arkansas Highway and Transportation Grant to add on to the existing walking trail in Stewart Park.

  • the council was told that the Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held on March 22 from 1-3 p.m. There will be three age divisions and 3,000 eggs for children to find. Nice prizes have been donated by area businesses.

  • aldermen agreed to make do with the city pool for one more season until they can get estimates on what it would cost to repair it or possibly replace it if repairing it is too expensive. Several grants for that project may be applied for.

  • the council also was informed that the city's annual spring cleanup will be April 14-26.

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