WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – Much of Monday night’s City Council meeting was devoted to the building at 209 Main Street in Walnut Ridge.
The city-owned structure was up for sale and while the council had agreed to take 75 percent of the appraised price for the structure, approximately $34,000 Mayor Charles Snapp told the council. However, only two bids came in and the council rejected both.
One of the bids was by Twin City Development. BJ Hibbard, the owner, told the group he would be putting in as much money as the appraised price if he were allowed to purchase the structure. His hope was to create a burrito-builder style restaurant, similar to Chipotle, he said. 10 to 12 employees would have been created under the plan, along with thousands spent in local development, but at about 1/3rd of the appraised price, under $5 per square foot, the bid was rejected unanimously by the council. Instead, they will move forward with lowering their acceptable price on the property to 60 percent, or about $20,000.
After years of condemnation efforts on the building referred to as the “Krepps Building” at the corner Custom and Miller Roads, owned by Aerotech Machine Company, it seemed to finally be an issue with resolution in sight. The structure was transferred to the ownership of Jack Krepps and then agreed to be sold to Clark General Contractors. C.L. Clark spoke to the council and said he would be restoring the building back to where it was originally, with architectural plans in hand as he spoke. The council lifted the condemnation on the building to allow the matter to hopefully, be resolved.
Disaster Training Center
The council voted unanimously to show support for the proposed disaster training center which Arkansas State University has shown support for, along with several other regional meetings. If constructed, the facility would feature up to eight training sites for disasters like flood and rescue, earthquakes and other disasters.
Separation of Clerk/Treasurer
The council also voted unanimously to separate the city clerk and city treasurer positions. The next election cycle, Nov. 2018, will see the clerk as an elected position while the city treasurer will be an appointed position. The council also voted to allow an emergency second and third reading to hasten the process. City Clerk Pam Kopp was forced to resign at the previous meeting due to health reasons.
Mechelle Teel-Davis, chairman of the parks committee, presented a plan from Ecological Design Group, Inc. to the council for the professional services required to complete a parks master plan and a stormwater management strategy for the 70 acre Stewart Park. The cost will be $5,000, and the council gave its approval to the plan.
See the full meeting below.
(Photo by Stan Morris | NEA Report)