February 29, 2012 Edition

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WR, College City
discuss merging

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge and College City share the same zip code and water and sewer service. The Walnut Ridge Fire Department has a station there, and Walnut Ridge also has a water tower located at College City. Students from College City attend Walnut Ridge Schools.

Many think College City and Walnut Ridge merged years ago, but that is not the case. Now officials from both towns have begun preliminary discussions to incorporate into one city, according to Walnut Ridge Mayor Don House.

"Talks continue with some College City leaders about merging the two cities," House said. "Mayor Rhoads and I are in the process of setting up a meeting with the city councils of both towns to discuss the details of a merger and the benefits it would bring to each town."

To bring the issue to a vote, 15 percent of the registered voters who voted in the last mayoral election would have to sign a petition in favor of the merger. An election would then be held and a majority of voters from both municipalities would have to vote for the measure before College City would become a part of Walnut Ridge.

To get the measure on the ballot, 250 registered voters from Walnut Ridge and eight registered voters from College City would have to sign the petition.

House said he and College City Mayor Paul Rhoads have discussed the need to be sure citizens of both towns form a consensus before taking the issue to a vote.

"We want to give people plenty of time to absorb this," House said.

House said it would be easier to get state and federal grants if the towns became one, and wards would likely be expanded.

"We think we can help residents in College City, and they think they can help us," House added. "I feel positive about the advantages we could offer the citizens of College City. We would want to make sure Williams Baptist College is properly represented, also."

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