October 20, 2010 Edition

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Hoxie membership
in authority extended

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

Don King presented a request for the Hoxie City Council to approve entity dues for the NEA Intermodal Facilities Authority for 2011. Dues have been reduced to $11,428 because of Clay County joining Lawrence and Randolph counties, Pocahontas, Walnut Ridge, Hoxie and Corning in the authority.

King has served on the Intermodal Facilities Authority Board with John Holt and Stanley Schmidt representing Hoxie for the last 18 months.

"The philosophy behind the Authority is to attract businesses and jobs into this area by utilizing several transportation methods and this company is just the first of hopefully many," King said. "The company now being considered will bring approximately 130-140 jobs into the area."

King was speaking about the company that is being considered for a site that is off Owl City Road, just east of Cox Power Sports and north of the Highway 63 bypass. The physical location is in Walnut Ridge, but the spur that would need to be built to link the Union Pacific railroad to the Burlington Northern railroad would be in Hoxie. The railroad crosstie company considering this area is Integrated Renewable Resources, L.L.C. and is a combination of Thompson Industries and Fiber Resources.

A detailed environmental site assessment conducted by Terracon from Bryant costing $80,000 is in process. At the conclusion of this assessment, residents may write or voice concerns during a public comment period beginning with a public notice hearing planned for the beginning of January 2011.

King, who is also on the Hoxie Job Stimulus (Re-Use) Committee, said, "I see this company as offering a real boost for the area. It will cause a ripple-effect for the area in more ways than just 140 jobs. The company's need for 80 loads of logs each day will impact timber providers, gas stations, restaurants and truck drivers." He continued, "We have the city of Hoxie's best interest at heart."

The council voted to appropriate funds to cover the dues to the Intermodal Facilities Authority in 2011.

Dewey Scott, representing the Hoxie Job Stimulus Committee, recommended acceptance of a loan to Raymond and Thelma Kane, owners of Ray J's Garage and 24-Hour Wrecker Service. The loan will fund the purchase and improvement of another facility at 1701 Southwest Broad Street. The land, now owned by Ryan Moore, includes three lots and one building.

Kane's plans are to expand his facility and services, as well as hire three new employees. Future plans are to build a bay that will serve semi-trucks. Kane, as borrower, will pay incurred costs associated with the loan. Scott said that this additional building will essentially double the sales tax from Ray J's increased sales. The council approved the loan.

The purchase of 20 Christmas lights in the shape of lanterns was approved. The lights were chosen to blend with the Dickens in the Park theme. The lights will be placed on Southwest Texas Street between T-Ricks and Save-A-Lot. The cost was $5,278 and the lights were ordered immediately so that they would be able to be used this year. Plans are in place to continue purchasing the same style lights to replace the current lights, which have been used for several years.

Robert Clay approached the council with the request to pave or better maintain his road. Clay is wheelchair-bound and finds Renee Street difficult to maneuver because it is a gravel road. Previously, Clay has been told that the road needed to be dedicated to the city before it can be improved by the city. Clay said that Paul Hendrix reportedly has documentation stating that the road had been dedicated and slated for black top.

"I feel like this part of the town has been neglected," Clay said. "Other small streets were paved last year, why wasn't mine?"

Richard Combs of the council said, "Streets were evaluated, not on who does or who doesn't live there, but on the condition of the street. It is in the plans to continue improvement on the streets in 2011. We paved as many streets last summer as we could afford."

Clay was asked to bring documentation of street dedication so the council can consider action.

Clay also discussed his concerns regarding a lack of handicapped accessible stores and parking in Hoxie. He cited T-Ricks gas station and the tobacco store as examples. Clay said that disabled people legally have the right to accessibility, meaning adequate ramps and facilities.

"I feel like no one cares," Clay said.

Mayor Donnie Roberts said, "We require businesses to follow handicapped laws. Let us know who is not in regulation."

A resolution was unanimously passed that supported the display of the motto "In God We Trust" in the Hoxie City Hall. The motto will be painted on the wall by Karen Williams.

Resident Christie Watson told the council that she would like to see the Hoxie Park improved. The council discussed the present park condition and the opportunities of the planned park that has approximately seven acres. No action was taken.

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