May 17, 2017 Edition

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WR council discusses drainage

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

A discussion on continued issues with drainage in Walnut Ridge was held at Monday night's city council meeting.

The conversation started after citizen Sherri Thomas spoke concerns that new construction is being built up high leaving older properties on lower ground to receive more water.

While the new construction in the area mentioned by Thomas is not expected to increase flooding for other residents, there is still much work needed there to improve drainage.

Unfortunately, the ongoing issue of drainage in the center of town, where Thomas resides, is not an easy one to fix.

Mayor Charles Snapp said before drainage can be improved in the center of town, the perimeter has to drain properly. The city has been working to improve major drainage systems and waterways through the city, but there are still many culverts clogged and larger pipes trying to drain into smaller pipes causing water to slow and overflow.

As drainage getting water out of the city is improved, crews can work to redirect and better drain the center of town.

Thomas also spoke about noise and light interference from construction early and late in the day near her home. She inquired about a heavy equipment noise ordinance. Snapp said it would be hard to enforce and wouldn't cover a lot of noise generated at construction sites, which is done with small equipment.

Alderman Allen Smith said he empathized about the noise. However, there's no way he sees to regulate when people work, especially in an area that depends on trains, crop dusters and other loud equipment that have to run when they can.

Thomas said she understood the growing pains of progress and she is happy to see the city develop, but she is still nervous for some of the older properties and long-time residents. She also commended Fire Chief Frank Owens for taking time to come out and explain the construction happening in her area.

Also at the meeting, the council:

approved to vacate Coon Creek road and rezone part of parcel 25 from agricultural to light industrial. This is property located between Fulbright Avenue and Miller Drive that will be sold for industrial use.

approved to vacate the Southeast Fifth Street right-of-way at property owned by Snapp Properties, LLC. Snapp said the business is looking into building climate-control mini storages at that site.

authorized City Attorney Nancy Hall to prepare necessary documentation to transfer an SUV from the fire department to the city. The vehicle is equipped to be a police department vehicle when needed and will be used for general transport until then. The fire department is consolidating its equipment, making the SUV redundant. The city will pay the remaining balance on the SUV.

approved the sale of the fire department's decommissioned ladder truck. The department is now using a newer truck purchased by the volunteer department. Hall will research if it is possible to donate the proceeds from the sale to the VFD to help pay for the newer truck.

heard from Snapp, who formed committees, one to review privilege licenses and another to research regulations on the roller carts that will be used on the sanitation route.

Snapp also gave updates on the community center, which has been successfully transferred to the Lawrence County School District, and the purchase of a 15-foot Batwing mower that cuts three times as much as what the city has currently.

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