April 30, 2014 Edition

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Rogers and WR City Council
near resolving building issues

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

At a special meeting on Thursday night, the Walnut Ridge City Council gave Mayor Don House the authority to sign a memorandum of understanding between the city and J.R. Rogers, owner of a building that has caused considerable concern for the safety of Arkansas Workforce Center employees and the public in general.

The council had agreed to the memorandum at a special meeting on April 10 with the stipulations that any contractor hired to work on the building must carry a $1 million liability policy and that Rogers provide the city with a $60,000 performance bond.

Rogers agreed to the contractor's liability policy, but declined to provide a performance bond. The council agreed the liability policy was their greatest concern, and that a performance bond was not normally required. With Aldermen Don Winfrey and Wendell Jones unable to attend the meeting, the vote was 4-2 in favor of accepting the memorandum, with Mayor House casting the deciding vote.

The three-story building is located at 120 West Elm Street, and Rogers will have three weeks from the date he signs the altered memorandum to determine if it can be refurbished or will have to be demolished. If the building has to be demolished, work must begin within six weeks and completed 60 days after work begins.

If it is to be refurbished, the building would have to be stabilized and deemed safe within 40 days, and all exterior work would be required to be completed within 90 days.

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