Friday, October 20, 2017

TOP STORY >> Spruceup at animal park

Leader staff writer

Laura Wingate and Lily Miller with Girl Scout Troop 6660 gave the Ward City Council a presentation Monday on proposed additions to the city’s animal park. The troop will cover the cost of its Silver Project, the highest award a cadet Girl Scout can earn.

The council approved the proposed additions to the animal park.

“We wanted to do something for the community and give back,” Miller told the council. “We decided to make the animal park more enticing.”

The troop already has tires, paint, a basket and tennis balls, but will be holding a fundraiser at a later date to help purchase other needed items. The current sign for the animal park is falling down and the troop plans to replace it with a sign made of memorial bricks.

The troop will team up with the Ward Animal Shelter during one of its fundraisers to get some of the dogs adopted also.

Parks and Recreation Director Karen Dawson will supervise the project along with help from Animal Control Officer Kelly Zoller.

Mayor Art Brooke gave an update on the Hwy. 367 and Hwy. 319 intersection improvements. Traffic lights are planned for the intersection, with a completion date sometime in 2018.

The mayor has written a letter saying the city guarantees its $160,000 share required to complete the work.

Originally, the city’s cost was more than $300,000, but there are discussions for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to take over the project, which will reduce the city’s cost.

“We’ve had some discussions with the highway department,” Deborah Staley, executive assistant to the mayor, told The Leader. “One of the suggestions is that they handle the project. At this time we don’t have a signed agreement.”

The mayor will meet with Metroplan on Wednesday to find out more.

David Stanley with Lemons Engineers told the council that the wastewater treatment plant construction is still on schedule, and design plans for Safe Routes to School are being submitted for review.

The city council also approved the purchase of two dump trucks for a total of $21,000 at Monday’s meeting.

Scott’s Lumber Company, which is closing Oct. 28, offered to sell the trucks to the city. The trucks are a 1993 International and a 2005 International. “We have a couple needs for that particular style dump truck,” Brooke said.

The street department will use one for picking up brush, tree limbs and other hauling. The water department will also use one of the trucks.

The planning commission brought proposals for final plats on 1 Huntington Place, lots 107-119 and 131-138, a replat for part of Oakland Park blocks 60 and 73, replat of Guyot Addition lots 1, 2, 3, 10, 11 and 12 and Oakland Grove block 33.

Deputy Operations Director Charles Gastineau updated the council on the city’s low-to-moderate income ratio. After surveying 574 homes around the city, the LMI percentage, which began at 8 percent, rose to 61 percent. Of the 487 occupied residences, 192 were found to have a high income, 177 moderate and 118 low. There were 146 female heads of household, 105 elderly (over age 64), 81 handicapped and 21 multi-family households.

The updated LMI means the city may be eligible for grants to help with projects like a youth or senior center or multipurpose center.

The mayor appointed Alderman Ron Bissett as chairman for a committee to develop an ordinance on parking. Due to narrow streets in some areas, emergency vehicles could have trouble getting to a location they’re called to if a vehicle is parked in the street.

“We’re trying to respond to emergency calls. We’re putting equipment on the road to go and rescue somebody and the equipment is not cheap,” the mayor said. “If you take it down a road you can’t get through, you can’t provide the service. That’s a disservice to those in need. It’s very difficult to try to develop a workable solution.”

The committee is tasked with finding “an ordinance we can live with.”