April 16, 2008 Edition

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Walnut Ridge supports
development of super site

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge City Council agreed to become a member of a regional intermodal facility in hopes of securing significant jobs for this area and voted to apply for a grant to secure new tornado sirens for the city at their regular meeting on April 8.

Milton Smith, president of First National Bank and chair of the Economic Development Committee for the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, and Wayne Gearhart, executive director of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, were on hand to explain the benefits of being a member of a regional intermodal facility. (See related article.)

"Governor Mike Beebe has said we need more than one super site in Arkansas and that we need to work together as a region to provide what it will take to attract new industry to this area," Smith said.

Gearhart told the council he has been in economic development for years and he believes the regional intermodal facility is the best opportunity for Northeast Arkansas to land significant jobs in this region.

"This is the best thing we have had in a long time for getting good jobs in our area," Mayor Michelle Rogers said. "I'm very excited about this opportunity."

Alderman Michael "Button" Wallin asked the council for permission to apply for a grant to purchase five new tornado sirens to be placed in the annexed area in the northern part of the city and wherever one is needed. "We want to apply for a Community Enhancement Grant in the amount of $112,347.09. The grant would cover the cost in full," Wallin said. "We need a resolution from the council to accompany the grant application."

The council voted unanimously to pass the resolution.

In other business:

  • councilmen approved a bid of $650.95 to update a tornado siren that has to be turned on manually at the substation on East Main so that it can be activated by remote from the new fire station. This is the siren that alerts the school.

  • the council passed a resolution prohibiting tractor trailers from engine braking, commonly known as "jake braking," and instating a $50 fine plus court costs for violation of the law. The rules were suspended, an emergency was declared and the resolution became effective immediately.

  • aldermen agreed to trade a one-ton truck with mechanical problems beyond repair to Anderson Auto Sales for a flat bed to be placed on another one-ton truck the city owns to be used by the street department.

  • the council tabled discussion of the purchase of two new cars needed by the police department until Police Chief Leslie Gates gathers more information on prices.

  • aldermen discussed warning tickets being given to people who park backwards in parking spaces around the courthouse on days when court is in session. They also asked Sanitation Department Supervisor Donnie Milgrim to get the names and addresses of people who are using oversized trash containers so they may be notified that their containers are too large.

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