September 16, 2009 Edition

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WR Council votes
to add stop signs

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Stop signs, drainage problems and damage allegedly caused by leaks from the city pool were the main topics discussed by the Walnut Ridge City Council on Sept. 8.

Mayor Michelle Rogers told the council several requests had been made for stop signs at busy intersections. Aldermen voted to make the intersection of Hazel and Northwest Second a four-way stop as well as the intersections of Southwest Third and Ash and Southeast Third and East Pine. A stop sign will also be placed on the Walnut Ridge side of Midway Road where the Rails to Trails path crosses it.

"Lewis Slaughter, committee chair of Rails to Trails, has asked that we place the proper signage on 13 city streets the trail crosses," Rogers said. "There needs to be four signs at each crossing for pedestrians and motorists. The 52 signs will cost between $1,100 and $1,200, and they need to be installed immediately."

She added that people aren't used to watching for pedestrians along the trail and the signs need to be up before someone gets hurt. Rogers said that she would check into state law to see what signs are required, and the council voted to allow her to purchase them.

Alderwoman Paula Haskins said council members are getting complaints about drainage in the city.

"People are sick of drainage problems," she said. "Can we get someone working on that fulltime?"

Mayor Rogers told her that the city has been working on drainage problems as they can, but that the employees are still picking up limbs.

"We have six people working on cleanup and drainage, six people to cover the entire town," Rogers said. She added that the cleanup should be completed soon so they can spend more time on drainage problems.

Michelle Sheets addressed the council about problems she believes the Walnut Ridge swimming pool has caused to her home.

She told the council that cracks in the pool and breaks in a main pipe have kept her property so wet that it has caused black mold to grow inside the walls of her home and caused her house to sink.

"The walls are buckling, and water stands under my house all the time," she said. "It has caused health problems for my son, and we have been told by inspectors that the air inside the house and outside as well is unsafe.

"We have had to move out, but are still making mortgage payments on a house we cannot live in," she added.

She said her family has been living with her mother for the past year because of the unsafe conditions of the house.

"We need some help here," her mother told the council. She asked if the city would be interested in buying the property the house sets on and turning it into a parking lot because the bank has told them if they tear the house down, they will not loan money to rebuild on that property, and it is unsafe to live in now.

Alderman Dirk Davis asked, "Why haven't we been told about this before now? We have paid a lot of money over the years to keep the pool repaired, and thought it was in good shape."

Aldermen agreed they need to speak with Alan Smith who repairs the pool and find out why they are at such a misunderstanding with him since they all believed the pool was in good shape and were unaware of any leaks.

Alderman Wendell Jones asked Sheets if she would give them one month to look into the problem before she begins any legal action. Sheets agreed to give the city that amount of time to investigate the problem.

In other business councilmen:

  • learned that the city has received more than $200,000 from FEMA thus far.
  • approved the appointment of Ronnie Pierce to the water commission following Gary Rose's resignation due to health problems.
  • agreed to a request from Jim McMillon to clear tall weeds from the city's side of Compress Road that are causing a safety hazard for drivers and children and discussed cleaning out a culvert on Hope Street that is completely stopped up.
  • agreed to speak to Gary Kearby about repairing or installing lights on a tower he owns that currently does not have lights.

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