WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – Mischievous minds should be aware of the stiff penalties for park vandalism the Walnut Ridge City Council passed Monday night.
Christmas in the Park in memory of Button Wallin will be turned on Friday evening, Nov. 25. An estimated $35,000 in signs will be on display for the community to enjoy and make memories of with their families.
However, vandals always seem to ruin the fun and the Walnut Ridge City Council has made sure anyone who messes with Stewart Park will pay – big.
The new ordinance sets up multiple levels of punishment.
First offense: $1,000 MINIMUM fine, PLUS restitution (which could be several thousands).
Second offense: $5,000 MINIMUM fine, PLUS restitution, PLUS a MINIMUM of three days in jail.
The ordinance, passed unanimously, also gives the presiding judge the ability to enhance the sentences by permitting added punishments allowed under Arkansas statutes.
It will apply to any interference or damage to items including, but not limited to, hardscapes, signage, Christmas and holiday decor, educational displays, memorabilia, playground equipment, bridges, footpaths, tables, pavilion areas, bathrooms, ball fields, fire pits, and other such items.
The council renewed the lease for the JumpStart Animal Shelter.
905 S.E. 7th Street was rezoned from R-1 to R-2. The owner said he wanted to likely build a duplex. This was a property which had burned.
The tornado siren in College City will not be able to be half-funded by College City, since they will no longer exist by the completion of the build. Alderman Allen Smith asked Mayor Charles Snapp if the airport could get a grant to possibly pay for it. Snapp said it would delay the construction several years, at a minimum, if even possible.
Clay Sloan was appointed to the Walnut Ridge Airport Commission for another five year term by the council, unanimously. He was present and thanked them for their faith.
Jon Walter discussed the economic impact of a potential Hoxie/Walnut Ridge consolidation and it would be a bumpy road. Walter said many costs would be incurred to bring both cities up to the highest level of standard each shared. There would be costs saved from duplication of government. A story earlier in the year in the Jonesboro Sun, by this reporter, showed residents in both communities supported consolidating Walnut Ridge and Hoxie into one community.