March 21, 2012 Edition

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WR Council discusses
building, annexation

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge City Councilmen reversed two decisions made at their February meeting and discussed annexation of property in the Midway Road area, as well as upcoming city-sponsored events at their meeting on March 13.

Last month the council voted to allow Larry Corbett to dig a trench along the east side of his building (the old Van Atkins building on Main Street) and make a cut in the sidewalk to keep water away from and out of the building. The trenching has been completed, but railing alongside the building, also approved at the February meeting, has not been installed.

Corbett attended Tuesday's meeting in hopes of being allowed to place three posts near his building to help keep traffic from running into it. The building has been struck by vehicles three times in the last few years, causing expensive repairs.

Alderman Michael "Button" Wallin and Alderman Mike Phillips told Corbett that they had taken another look at the drainage problem in that alley and felt what he planned to do to correct the drainage problem would make matters worse for him, not better.

"It won't solve the problem and could eventually cause foundation problems for Larry," Wallin said.

"I would pour a curb next to the building to improve the drainage if it was me," Phillips said.

The council then addressed the placement of poles around the building.

Corbett received permission to place two of the three poles he requested. Poles may be placed at the front and back corner of his building.

"I just want to keep the water out and stop people from running into my building," Corbett said.

The council then voted on the annexation of property lying north of Midway Road that had not previously been annexed. The city limits will run the length of Midway Road from 67B and encompass the Entergy substation after the passage of a city ordinance accepting the property.

Lawrence County Judge Dale Freeman has approved the annexation.

Councilmen voted in favor of the annexation on first reading. There will be two readings at the council's next meeting before the annexation is completed.

"Approximately 50 residents in the area will officially become Walnut Ridge citizens when this is finalized," Mayor Don House said. "Police, fire, sanitation, mosquito control, plus street and sewer services are being extended to them. The sewer hookups will be paid for with grant money, and the homes will continue with the same water providers they now have. Residents will also have a Class 3 fire rating, which will help them with the cost of homeowner insurance."

The possibility of consolidation with College City was also briefly discussed.

"College City's Town Council is meeting this month to discuss possible consolidation with Walnut Ridge," Mayor House said. "If they decide consolidation with us is a good thing, then a meeting will be called to take up the issue in a formal way. The final say will lie in the hands of the voters of both cities."

House appointed a committee to meet with College City officials in the event College City would like to discuss the possible merger. Committee members are Aldermen Ed Lawson, Wallin and Rob Combs, as well as Jessie Pulliam and C.L. Clark.

In other business, the council:

  • was informed that the 2012 Easter Egg Hunt will be held on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to noon. The Easter Bunny will make an appearance and the Walnut Ridge Fire House will be there to help educate children about fire safety. Mayor House said several businesses have already donated numerous prizes for the hunt. A new feature this year is a Friday night Flashlight Egg Hunt on March 23 for middle school kids. The Walnut Ridge Police Department will assist with the event. Prizes will be awarded, and a band will provide music before and after the hunt.

  • learned that the Fourth of July fireworks show will be held on the Fourth this year, beginning at 9 p.m. in Stewart Park. Bryan Butts will again be in charge of the display.

  • received an update on the District Forester's visit on March 9. Walnut Ridge is now a Tree City USA member and received a plaque and a flag to display. Membership in the organization offers many advantages to the city, including a five-percentage-point advantage when applying for federal grants. A tree was planted in the park and dedicated to the memory of Chelsey Marie Linebaugh, a former WRHS student, as requested by Walnut Ridge School students.

  • learned that the city continues to have an increased amount of contact from businesses, small and large, showing an interest in locating here.

  • was reminded by Mayor House that Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel will visit the new Walnut Ridge Police Complex on Monday, March 26, to meet the officers and see the results of a community pulling together with a lot of volunteerism, determination and cooperation.

  • heard from Alderman Wallin, Mosquito Committee chair, and Street Supt. Rickey Ditto that both departments will need to purchase trucks in the near future.

  • was informed that there is a dog problem on West Poplar. The dogs are barking day and night and keeping the neighbors awake. Animal control and the police chief will visit the dogs' owners and try to work out a solution. This will be the second trip the city has made in attempting to solve the problem.

  • learned the city's airplane will be put up for bid once a description of the plane is made available to City Attorney Adam Weeks.

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