Swimming pool to go to Manila voters

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blytheville Courier News

MANILA -- In its regular meeting Monday the Manila City Council agreed the issue of a new city swimming pool should go to the voters.

In last month's regular meeting, the Council discussed the possibility of asking voters to approve a half-cent tax to build and operate a new city pool.

"I think we can afford a water park, especially with a 50/50 grant and I purpose we try to set-up an election to see if the people want to pay for a swimming pool," Manila Mayor Clifford Veach told the


"I think bringing it before the people is the only proper thing to do," Councilman Leroy Douglas said.

Veach explained that the election should take place 60 to 90 days after the Council approves an ordinance to hold a special election.

He went on to say that the ordinance will be ready for the Council to vote on at next month's meeting and that the special election could happen as early as October.

Also at Monday's meeting Veach presented the Council with several plans for sidewalks for the town. Veach's recommendation was to go back to Floyd Street and finish that sidewalk to Farmer's Market and


"Then pick up on Lake Street and go to the park," Veach said. "You have estimates for 3-, 4- and 5-foot sidewalks. If nothing else, we need to finish the Floyd Street sidewalk. The thing that we ran into and I stopped in these plans was going across Farmer's Market. I don't think we should do that because there are three entries into the store and there is a lot of traffic in and out of there. I think it would be too dangerous."

The Council agree to review the plans while Veach and city attorney Wayne Wagner agreed to look into the possibility of getting a grant for the sidewalk project.

In other business the council continued to table discussion of the city's ordinance concerning viscous dogs and once again addressed parking on Baltimore Street, which is the main street in Manila.

Some Baltimore Street merchants were at last month's Council meeting asking for two-hour parking on the street because they said the crowd from the auction located on the same street is taking up the parking in front of their businesses and causing their customers to have to walk further to get into their stores.

"I came by last Friday at what I thought would be a busy time for the auction and I didn't see a problem," Veach said. "Harold Stallings (owner of the auction) is here tonight to give his side of

the matter."

"I really don't see a problem," Stallings said. "The way I see it, no one has a special place to park. My customers have as much right to park on this street as their customers. When I first started the

auction we had two times the crowd we have now. In the summertime auctions always slow down. When I first opened I asked some of my customers to move and I feel like they shouldn't have to because they

have as much right to park on the street as everyone else. If someone parks in front of my place and goes into the video store across the street I don't ask them to move. I just don't see a problem."

The Council agreed to leave the parking on Baltimore Street the way it is now.

Veach then told the council that work on the new fire station is slow but is moving forward. He said the city had to make some corrections to its grant application for the new station, which has been done and resubmitted.

Manila Police Chief Jackie Hill said property cleanup is going well. He said six certified letters condemning property have been sent out and received by the property owners. He went on to say the new door hangers are working well and that overall city clean-up is going well.

"I think the property in this town is a lot cleaner than it was a few year's ago," Veach said.

Veach also talked to the council about tearing down the city's old overhead water tank.

"I had the bright idea of either bringing it down or painting it to make it look good," Veach said. "It's going to cost about $20,000 to bring it down and about $200,000 to paint it. So my recommendation is to bring it down. I will get a formal bid for that project and will have it for the Council next month."

In late arrivals Veach said the city is being sued by Buffalo Island Water. He said last December the council voted to raise the water rate from $1.50 to $2 per gallon as of January.

"They are saying that we have not demonstrated the increase in that expense," Veach said. "That is about all I can say about that at this time. We are working with Wayne (Wagner) on it. You have a copy of the suit in your packet for you to read in your spare time. I will keep you posted."

Before adjourning the Council agreed to hire Carl Warren II as a part-time police officer. Warren was certified by the Police Academy in 2004 and is currently working at the Gosnell Police Department.

Chief Hill said that Warren is originally from the Leachville area and is looking to move closer to home.

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