September 28, 2011 Edition

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WR buys property for PD

During a special meeting held Monday, members of the Walnut Ridge City Council approved the purchase of property for use by the Walnut Ridge Police Department.

The council has agreed to purchase the former Smelser home, located at 317 Northwest Fourth Street in Walnut Ridge, at a cost of approximately $30,000.

According to Mayor Don House the city owns the former Smelser Plumbing building, which is located beside the home. House said the building is being prepared to house the city's new police department.

The former police station, located on East Front Street, was destroyed after a truck ran into the building causing severe structural damage.

The city received $30,000 in insurance on the building plus an additional $12,000 for equipment loss.

Mayor House stated that preliminary plans call for the house on the purchased property to be torn down to allow additional room for parking. "Right now there is no parking except right in front," said Walnut Ridge Police Chief Richy Thatcher.

A large, two-room shop building will be repaired for use as a maintainence facility and storage.

"Police, firemen, city employees and several city residents have been volunteering their time to help get the new police station readied as early as possible," House said.

Although it's unknown if the city has sufficient funds to complete all of the work need to the new facility, Mayor House stated that "the city is committed to doing it, and it will be done."

In addition, city council members accepted a bid on phase II of the 2011 sewer expansion, commonly referred to as the Highway 34/Luther Bridges' Road Project.

The low bid of $719,000 was accepted from Kajac Construction Company of Poplar Bluff, Mo.

According to House the bid came in about $100,000 below what had been anticipated.

"This is the second time that we have come in under bid this year on sewer projects," said House. "We can sure use the favor."

If possible, construction will begin within the next 45 days.

During the special meeting House also briefed council members about the east portion of Midway Road.

"It has gotten to the point of dangerous and something must be done now," House said.

FEMA is suppose to help the city with repairs, but according to House, may not come until January.

Mayor House stated that city crews will begin making repairs immediately. The council urges motorists to find alternate routes if necessary.

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