November 12, 2008 Edition

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WR to proceed with
Intermodal Authority

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge City Council met Monday night and agreed to place two three-way stop signs on Southern Avenue, as well as discussing plans for the Christmas Parade and Christmas in the Park. They also voted on end-of-year bonuses for city employees and to move forward on the intermodal facility

The council voted to join Lawrence County, Randolph County and the cities of Corning, Hoxie and Pocahontas as part of the Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority and agreed to the terms and conditions of the agreement.

"The Authority has made application to the Federal Highway Administration for grant funds to finance the planning of the intermodal industrial park," said Milton Smith on behalf of the Authority. "The Authority is required to advance the entire cost for planning the intermodal industrial park and the Federal Highway Administration will reimburse 80 percent of the cost with grant funds. The other 20 percent is each city's and county's part of the grant application."

Smith also told the council they need to make their appointments to the board of directors very soon. Three members from each municipality and county will comprise the governing board.

"A meeting of the board is to held as soon as possible," Smith said.

Mayor Michelle Rogers thanked Smith for all the work he has done on the project. Police Chief Leslie Gates informed the council that issuing citations to speeders on Southern Avenue has not seemed to stop the ongoing speeding problem on that street.

After much discussion, council members voted to place rumble strips and two three-way stop signs on Southern Avenue. The signs are to be placed at the intersection of Southern Avenue and Southeast Circle and Southern Avenue and Sixth Street.

"Many children play along that area, and speeders are a real danger to their safety," Rogers said. "We need to get people to slow down when they come off Highway 91 onto Southern Avenue."

The council also voted to pay city employees end-of-the-year bonuses based on the same pay schedule as last year.

    In other business:

  • Mayor Rogers told the council this year's Christmas parade will be held on Dec. 2, and Christmas in the Park will open that night. Work on the light displays in the park has already begun.

  • Alderman Michael "Button" Wallin informed the council the ISO inspection of the city's fire and water departments has been completed and results are anticipated in January and February. The city's fire rating is currently a five, and they are hoping to get the rating lowered to a three. The lower the ISO rating, the less taxpayers are charged for insurance for their homes and businesses.

  • Alderwoman Paula Haskins asked for an update on a speed limit sign along Highway 67B for drivers traveling into town from Highway 67. Mayor Rogers agreed to check into the problem.

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