July 22, 2015 Edition

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TCF approaches Walnut Ridge
about remembrance garden

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The local chapter of The Compassionate Friends spoke at Monday's Walnut Ridge City Council meeting with a proposal to build and maintain a memorial garden at Stewart Park near the fire pit.

Dana Penn, local chapter founder and leader, said the project is meant to be a community effort. "We want to do this for the city."

The proposed focus was for those who have lost children in their lives. "They could have a place to go to just breathe and meditate," she said.

The garden would eventually include a path leading to a brick memorial where individuals could purchase a brick in honor of the loved ones they have lost. Penn said she hopes to be able to add benches, landscaping and other features to the garden, which would be paid for through donations and maintained by TCF.

City Attorney Nancy Hall said the best option she sees for the city would be to enter an agreement with TCF to develop a Walnut Ridge memorial garden that they would maintain. In the future if TCF can no longer fulfill the agreement, a new agreement could be made with another secular, non-profit organization.

The council agreed to have Mayor Charles Snapp, Hall and TCF to proceed to develop a typed agreement for aldermen to review at next month's meeting.

Alderman Jon Walter said he has been working on beautification projects around the city for the past several years. "It's hard to find people who will do that, and I thank you for doing this," he told TCF representatives.

In other business, Snapp announced that a non-profit organization has approached him about operating an animal rescue center out of the new city pound building, former Gateway Animal Clinic building. The operation would be separate from the city pound.

Aldermen also discussed a new animal control ordinance focusing on dogs and cats. A draft was presented, but it was asked that it be revised to include more information regarding cat control. The ordinance clarifies proper care, identification and security needed for pets and specifies that if a resident feeds an animal, the animal is the resident's responsibility.

The ordinance will be revisited once revisions are made.

Also at the meeting, the council:

authorized the closing of Northeast Second Street, from Park Lane to Compulast Drive, beside the ball fields at Stewart Park. The road is scheduled to be dug up, and the Callahan and Hicks families have offered to do the work and precision level the area to improve drainage.

accepted the annexation of 20 acres owned by Walnut Ridge from the College City city limits to the Walnut Ridge city limits.

passed the ordinance clarifying salary and compensation for aldermen on the second reading. This ordinance specifies that health and life benefits will not be offered to aldermen at the city's expense. If passed, the ordinance would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

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