September 18, 2013 Edition

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WR City Council purchases tractor,
supports grant for Wings of Honor

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge City Council voted to purchase a new tractor for the park department and passed a resolution to support a grant application for the Wings of Honor Museum at their meeting on Sept. 10.

The council agreed to purchase the tractor to replace an old one that was beyond repair. The lowest bid for the tractor was for $19,116 from Light's Equipment in Walnut Ridge, and a five-year loan was secured through iBERIABANK at a rate of 3.49 percent interest.

The council also passed a resolution authorizing the mayor to apply for a $50,000 General Improvement Funds Community Enhancement Grant on behalf of the Wings of Honor Museum. The grant money will be used to construct two permanent educational and historical WWII displays depicting the War against Germany and Japan and a gallery to honor the approximately 1,700 WWII veterans from Lawrence County.

"The grant will not cost the city anything, nor will it interfere with any grants the city may apply for in the future," Mayor House said.

The city is also in the process of forming a City Planning Commission. While there is already a planning committee in place, state law requires that cities have planning commissions comprised of five to seven commissioners, so the current planning committee is being revamped to comply with a city ordinance passed in 1973 that set up a commission.

A chairman, vice chairman and secretary will be elected at their next meeting, and some of those now serving on the committee may not wish to serve on the newly formed commission. Commissioners will be nominated by the mayor, serving staggered terms, and must be approved by the council. State law prohibits a city councilman from serving as chairman of the commission, and the mayor said he would prefer that no councilmen serve on the commission in order to keep it separate from the council.

In other business, the council:

  • was introduced to Kayla Roberts of Walnut Ridge, the 2013 National American Miss Arkansas Preteen. Roberts lives in Walnut Ridge and is an eighth grader at Hoxie Junior High School. The daughter of Eric and Debra Roberts, she won her title in June and will be competing in the national pageant in Anaheim, Calif., during Thanksgiving week. She will have a booth set up at the Beatles at the Ridge Festival to help raise money for her trip. Chances for winning a Benelli rifle will be sold at her booth throughout the day.

  • was informed that the city had received 150 tickets from Arkansas State University to attend the ASU/Troy University football game on Sept. 12. The tickets were free for all city policemen and firemen in honor of Heroes Day.

  • discussed the benefits of adding aerial spraying to the trucks spraying for mosquitoes. Alderman Michael "Button" Wallin said he believed the combination has really helped bring down the city's mosquito population, and Mayor House said his office has received less complaints about the pests this summer.

  • learned that the city has been working to get several streets prepared for paving, which should begin by the end of the month.

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