May 20, 2009 Edition

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WR Council discusses
park improvements

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge City Council voted to build a new parking lot at Stewart Park and passed an ordinance to prohibit the withdrawal of groundwater for drinking purposes near Frit Industries at their meeting on May 12.

Mayor Michelle Rogers told the council that parking in Stewart Park has become a real problem and asked that they consider adding another parking lot to the park.

"Parking near the girl's softball fields is chaos," she said. "A 1,600-square-foot graveled parking lot built behind the restrooms would cost between $8,000 and $10,000."

Aldermen Dirk Davis, Michael "Button" Wallin and Jonathan Sanders mentioned other possible sites in the park for the lot. The council voted to build it with the exact location to be decided once the council has had a chance to look at the options.

Alderwoman Paula Haskins told the council the park is the only thing the city has to offer its kids for recreation, and that she feels the city needs to do everything they can to make the park nice and useful.

"The volleyball field is a mud hole right now after all the rain we've had," Haskins said. "It's full of rocks and needs more sand to make it usable."

Street Superintendent Jim Poindexter said the park needs one big drainage ditch with smaller feeders coming into it to stop the flooding problems. "We won't know where to put in a ditch until the additional walking trail is completed," he said.

In other business, the council passed an ordinance prohibiting the withdrawal of groundwater for human consumption by installing wells or any other method in the Frit Industries area of the industrial park. Irrigations wells will still be allowed. Frit Industries is a fertilizer plant, and the EPA passed the ordinance last month because certain chemical constituents in the groundwater near Frit may exceed drinking water standards. The council suspended the rules and the ordinance went into immediate effect.

Haskins told the council that Jack Wolfe would like to take out the paved alley near his business and repave it at a lower grade. Wolfe owns Wolfe's Taekwando, which is located at 308 West Main.

"When we get a lot of rain, the water from the alley, which has a four or five foot elevation, drains into his back room," Haskins said. "Wolfe would like to pave the parking lot beside his business, and he would like the city to remove a rusted utility pole in front of his building that is not being used for anything and is an eyesore."

The council agreed to remove the pole and asked Poindexter to check into the best way to fix Wolfe's flooding problem.

Council holds special session

In a special meeting on April 15, the Walnut Ridge City Council opened bids for the removal of tree hangers left by the late January ice storm. They accepted a bid from Perry Manus in the amount of $85 per hour for cutting hanging limbs with a cap of $20,000. The city will haul the limbs to the burn site.

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