March 23, 2011 Edition

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WR Council discusses industrial gowth

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge Mayor Don House updated the city council on economic development news at their meeting on March 2.

"We have been contacted by a factory who already has an existing plant in Arkansas and is looking to expand," House told the council. "We are first or second on their list, and they are talking about 50 jobs. They will be doing out-of-plant expansion in the fall.

House also told the council that he and County Judge Dale Freeman stay in contact with peanut farmers and buyers. "We have a peanut butter company that wants to locate here," he said. "We have an oral commitment from them."

He said there are hopes for growth in the area in the near future. One of the plants here said their sales are up by 40 percent, another plans to hire 25 to 30 people this year and a third one will hire five or six new employees.

He told the council that Allied AgCat recently sold a refurbished plane to a family in France, the 100th out-of-country plane they have sold.

"We have issued permits for three new houses, and one local business is planning to expand in the near future," House added.

"These may sound like small things, but in these hard times, it's good news for us."

The former occupant of the Smelser Building has been notified and asked to remove his property from the building, or the items will soon belong to the city. The building was built with reuse money and the loan was defaulted. The city will now use it for city purposes or sell it. Anyone interested in the building may call city hall, House said.

The council passed a cleanup ordinance regarding the city's membership in the Intermodal Authority that will allow the city to meet state requirements.

"The Intermodal Authority meets the criteria of a commission," House explained. "Officially recognized members can act without council approval. Each entity has three representatives on the Authority's board."

The council reconfirmed Milton Smith and Paul Doty Jr. to the board and will make suggestions for the third member at the next council meeting.

In other business,

the council agreed to accept bids on the city's helicopter through April 15.

members learned that the fire department's new rescue truck has been stocked and is in action.

aldermen discussed the city's new police car and agreed to keep the old ones well-serviced so they will last longer. The mayor said he hopes to get grant money in the future to help with the expense of replacing the older cars.

Mayor House told the council that the city continues to work with the county and the Chamber of Commerce to hire someone whose only job will be working on economic development.

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