Monday, April 15, 2013

TOP STORY >> She succeeds in man's world

Leader staff writer

Joy Kinman, the first female Jacksonville water commissioner, says, “I’ve always been in a man’s world” and that she is excited about serving her community alongside her male counterparts.

“They are some of the most fantastic people. I feel very honored,” she said.

Kinman is serving out the rest of the eight-year term Alderman James Bolden III was previously appointed to. He left the commission after being elected to the city council in November.

Kinman said she is planning to apply for the position again after Bolden’s term expires on April 20, 2017.

“At that point, I’ll be getting into the meat of it,” she said.

Kinman applied for the commission when she learned there was an opening.

She said, “I have always wanted to serve my community, and this was a chance to do that. I do not mind hard work. I do not mind learning.”

Kinman, who officially joined the commission last week, says she is ecstatic to be part of the group while several of its projects are in their final stages.

Jacksonville Waterworks is a member of the Lonoke-White Public Water Authority, which is building a $57 million system to bring water from Greers Ferry Lake to their customers.

Money for the project will come from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Other members of the authority are Austin, Beebe, Furlow, Grand Prairie/Bayou Two, North Pulaski, Vilonia and Ward. The cities have raised their rates to pay back the USDA’s and ANRC’s long-term loans.

Jacksonville Waterworks is also negotiating a contract to take over maintenance of the water system of Little Rock Air Force Base.

The city has supplied water to LRAFB since it opened in 1955, but the base’s civil engineering group has maintained the pipes and valves since then.

The department’s offer to service the base’s water system will have to be approved by the Department of Defense. It could take several months to finalize the contract.

The department is raising a new 3,000-gallon water tower at Hwy. 107 and General Samuels Road in May. It will service LRAFB and the Base Meadows subdivision off base.

The new tower will replace a 5,000-gallon in-ground tank on Harris Road.

Commission chairman Jim Peacock said the department didn’t need 5,000 gallons for customers in that area, but had the tank with that capacity and used it.

He said it makes better economic sense to not waste water by putting in the lower-capacity tower, which will also increase water pressure in that area.

Kinman said, “I came in at a time when it’s all in action. I am excited for our city.”

She spent 20 years working in fire restoration before joining her husband’s home building company in 1969.

Kinman moved to Jacksonville from Hernando, Miss., in 1976.

She says she decided to live here after she met “the love of her life,” Dave Kinman.

The two met while Kinman was visiting her sister, who was stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base.

The couple had three sons, ages 36, 28 and 26.

Kinman’s husband passed away from heart complications a little more than a year ago.

She says the best way to cope with her loss is to keep his business alive.

Kinman lives in the Oak Ridge subdivision off Maddox Road. She estimates that she  built 75 percent of the houses there.

Constructing someone’s dream home is no small feat, Kinman said.

“The goal is for them to be as happy the last day as they are on the first. My customers become my friends,” Kinman said.