Monette skate park plans finalized

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Town Crier News Staff

Monette councilmen met Monday, April 23, to finalize plans for a new skateboard park and work on a new street to the city ball fields.

Mayor Chub Qualls gave an overview of a proposed skate park for the city park, for construction at the central basketball court. The park is for use of all types of skates.

"I have gone to the park many times and saw skaters using the tennis courts, and no one using the big central basketball court," Qualls said. "I called Paragould Parks and talked to them about their skate park. They told me it was the best money they had ever spent.

"Using the existing pavement, we can do it at a minimal cost. We can at least try it. These kids need a place to go. We will need to take of all the basketball portion of the court and turn it completely into skaters only."

"There will be no difference in the city's liability for use," said alderman Jamie Strickland. "Skating is no worse than someone jumping out of a swing 10 feet up. The biggest expense will be the concrete and duct work, with half pipe. The young people in the community are interested in this. With under $2,000 we can make it adequate and our money will be well spent.

"This will show our kids we are making an effort to do something for them. We need more than basketball, softball and baseball to offer kids. We can move equipment in and give it a try on a six month trial basis."

"We need to make sure this does not affect the grant money we received to build the two basketball parks in the park use plan," said alderman Joyce Read.

"The basketball court is not being used now," Qualls said.

"We will check to make sure we don't violate any terms of our grant agreement," Strickland said. "Helmets and pads will not be mandatory, but it is suggested skaters use them."

"We don't need to drag our feet on this," said alderman Tom Carroll.

"This will take the kids off business property and give them a place to skate," Qualls said. "This is for any kind of skates, skateboards, shoes, in-line, etc. They have to stay off of the walking track."

The council to proceed with plans to construct Skate Park, if it does not interfere with the park grant. Funding will be out of the park fund.

City Attorney Johnny Dunigan addressed the council concerning four necessary easements for road development adjacent to the Buffalo Island Central High School campus.

Thirty foot easements are being sought from A.J. and Sandra Blankenship Novacks, Noel Eggers and Terri Eggers Higginbothom, P.D. and Jimmie Lou Hout Wallace, and BIC schools in order to build a new road at the south end of the high school, leading west to the city ball field complex.

"The easements will allow the city to build the roadway and provide proper drainage to the area," Dunigan said. "This will allow a total of 60 feet of space, running east and west. This will benefit the school, the city, and the owners with a street adjacent to their property. They are being very generous to donate their easements, and we appreciate it."

"When the easements are signed, the city needs to vote to designate the street and drainage," said Dunigan.

Monette Housing Authority Director Barbara Suber announced the board resignation of Edna Mae Freeman, due to failing health. She recommended they appointment of Jerry Reed to fill the vacancy on the board as well as serve as chairman.

The council approved the changes and praised Mrs. Freeman for her long years of service and leadership to the board, the school and community.

Current board members will include: Jerry Reed, commissioner and chairman; Skip Layne, vice chairman; Terry Edwards, commissioner; Raye Finley, commissioner, and Betty Cole, resident board member.

Mayor Qualls reported the Monette Co-Op wished to install a new water tank at their place of business, and requested a flat rate of $2 per thousand gallons of water.

"Their use of water is a seasonal thing," Qualls said. "It would help their customers and help our firemen fill their tanks when needed. We need to help our businesses when we can."

"We also need easements of water lines around their property," said councilman Tom Carroll. "In the process of deliberation, we need to talk to them about it, and also for the addition of fire hydrants."

The council voted to charge the Co-Op $2 per thousand gallons of water, without sewer.

"They also agreed to pay 25 percent of the street paving across their property," said Qualls.

Several complaints were received about dogs being brought to the city's fallout shelter during a recent tornado alert.

"People brought their dogs and it caused quite a controversy," Qualls said. "With a crowded area it was a problem. Considering other problems, we have developed guidelines for use of the shelters, which we think will solve problems for the future."

Qualls presented a list of 11 shelter rules, consisting of no smoking, no profanity, no animals of any kind (except service dogs), good behavior, no loud music, no perfumes or sprays, appropriate dress, supervised children, no destruction, and no speeches or demonstrations.

All rules will be posted and must be obeyed in order to use the shelter.

Mayor Qualls reported an effort is being made to get the museum on the historical register, and apply for grant to restore.

Read reported on the ongoing intersection project. Benches and landscape are being installed. A water system is being planned.

"I saw where we were about 30 plants short on what was planned," alderman Steve Suber said. "Out of the 148 quoted only 97 have been put out, which means about 30 percent of plants weren't planted."

"They are not finished yet," Read said. "I know they will do what is right. They put plants around the municipal sign gratis."

Qualls reported on the artesian water well motor going out recently, but with a borrowed motor from Black Oak, and the supply from the new well at the school, the city was able to avoid a water supply shut-down.

"The old well needs work, and we need to explore possibilities," Qualls said. "We don't want to have to dig a new well. The old well is usable in case of emergency. We can also use rural water for a back-up."

Complaints were again received about the condition of the Tool-Tech property, north of town.

Trash pick-up will be May 7-11. Residents are encouraged to put trash out in front for pick-up. Afterwards the city will enforce unsightly and unsanitary code ordinance.

Alderman Strickland presented the Monette Youth Association report. The March ending balance is $3,712.83, with $175 in the sign project account. A new 12x20' concession stand has been added, with space for two to three workers at a time.

"We have had money donated to make this happen," Strickland said. "We owe a special thanks to the men who also worked on the lights, Tom Carroll and Terry Edwards especially. The park is looking good."

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be at 7 p.m. May 28.

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