Caraway Mayor gives first state of city address

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

During its regular meeting of the Caraway City Council Thursday, Jan. 9, Caraway Mayor Barry Riley gave the city's first state of the city address in which he outlined the events of 2013 and goals for 2014.

Roger Williams was appointed by the Caraway City Council to fill Alderman Austin Zamora's vacant seat. Zamora resigned from the council last month to focus on his college education. Williams was sworn in as a new Alderman immediately following Thursday's meeting.

Riley said due to new state regulations he had to give a state of the city address. He started by listing what had been accomplished in 2013 including the addition of a new multipurpose arena, renovations to the fire department and a new dump truck. The city also secured grants for a new brush truck and a new roof at the senior center.

In 2014 the city hopes to receive a grant to build a new concession stand at the city park as well as do street renovations. Riley said October 2013 brought two major events to the city, the first bull riding event in the new arena and the Halloween night tornado. He said the tornado came and went in a minute but its impact on the town will be everlasting.

"2014 has a lot of unknowns and uncertainties," Riley said. "I challenge everyone to help us through these difficulties."

Riley wants 2014 to be a year of rebuilding and renovating for the city of Caraway. He recommended the council put the city's Industrial Development Committee back together. He said the committee has in the past brought factories and other businesses to the community. He asked that one council member serve on the committee along with him and about four others. Alderman Mitchell Tipton volunteered to serve on the committee. Mayor Riley said he would ask a few others and would bring those names to the council next month for approval.

"We need to have a center point to revitalize our town," Riley said. "This is going to be a tough challenge but I think we can do it and start rebuilding our city."

Caraway won't have to wait too long for a new business. There are several projects already underway, one being a new car wash. Kyle and Hailey Vaughn were present at Thursday's council meeting to ask if the city of Caraway had any property available on the main road of Caraway by Dollar General or the city park.

"We would like to see Caraway grow," Hailey Vaughn said. "This is a business that we think we can do and the city has a need for. It will be a Custom Craft carwash like the one in Monette and Lake City. There will be three bays, one bigger for equipment."

The new car wash will have vacuums and will need a lot of about 90'x180'. Alderman Bo James said there is an empty lot between the St. Francis Levy District and Ferrelgas. James said the lot measures to be the right size but would need to be surveyed. The council passed a motion to survey the land and a motion to sell the land to the Vaughns for $2,000 after it has been surveyed. The Vaughns hope construction of the car wash can start in March and finish 90 days later.

After Alderman Austin Zamora resigned last month so he could finish his college education, and the council had the task of filling his position. Mayor Riley recommended Rogers Williams to fill the vacancy and the council unanimously agreed. Williams previously served 10 years on the council.

"I'm glad to be back on the council," Williams said. "I look forward to helping the city any way I can and I'm excited about the good things this year is going to bring."

In other business the council passed ordinance 2014-1 to revise the 2013 general fund budget, heard thank you notes from New Hope Baptist Church and the Hagg family, and were informed that new police officer Rodger Cox is attending the academy to become a full time officer. The council asked Mayor Riley to begin work on restoring the corner park on Main Street in Caraway. The park, which had a gazebo, was destroyed by the tornado. The Mayor agreed to start work on that project as well as look replacing the storm damaged door on the Lions Club building and look into several street repairs mentioned by the Aldermen.

Before adjourning Mayor Riley told the council the city's new veterans' memorial is set to open on Memorial Day this year and the council passed a motion to purchase helmet flashlights for all 20 of the city's firemen.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: