St. Francis Levee District to stay in Caraway

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Caraway City Council voted to sell the St. Francis Levee District 1.75 acres of land for $3,000 pending the city attorney's review of the contract during its regular meeting July 10.

Rob Rash, of the St. Francis Levee District, spoke to the Caraway City Council about purchasing land for the Levee District.

Rob Rash, of the St. Francis Levee District, was present at last month's meeting and again at this month's meeting to express the district's interest in locating in Caraway permanently. The shop, which was owned and insured by the city, that the St. Francis Levee District was housed in sustained considerable damage during May storms forcing the district to operate off the back of a flat bed trailer. It was discussed at last month's council meeting that the city sell the land to the St. Francis Levee District plus give the insurance money from the building to them so they could put a permanent shop in Caraway.

"We currently have a 99 year lease for $99 for the land and we have 96 years left on that," Rash said. "We could keep the land tied up for that long but instead we want to buy it and put our own shop out there. The reason we didn't have insurance on the building is because the city already had insurance on that shop and you can't double insure a building. Bo James is our foreman and he abstained from voting last time because it was a conflict of interest. We are here because of him. Caraway has some really good people and we want to stay here. We want to build a permanent shop and purchase the land."

Rash then told the council the city could keep the insurance money and the St. Francis Levee District would purchase the land for $3,000.

"I have had the 1.74 acres surveyed, I have the warranty deed with me, an affidavit, a check for $3,000, title work and notary," Rash said. "We appreciate the people of Caraway and we are willing to locate here. We have a good crew and all we ask is that our men be treated well. We look forward to this and a continued good relationship with this city."

The Council voted unanimously with Alderman James abstaining to accept the $3,000 offer pending the attorney's review. Mayor Barry Riley said the city appreciates the St. Francis Levee District and looks forward to them being in the city.

The council then passed unanimously a resolution that will allow the Arkansas State Highway Department to accept bids for Caraway's Main Street renovation project. The city has done its part in the renovations, the rest will be 100 percent paid for and taken care of by the Highway Department. The project includes repaving Main Street, new sidewalks, and a wheelchair access at each corner.

In other business Mayor Riley read ordinance 2014-4 placing monetary fines on owners and property owners of abandoned vehicles. The new ordinance amends the 1993 abandoned vehicle ordinance making it a misdemeanor penalty for failure of vehicle or property owner to remove the abandoned vehicle after the police chief has inspected the vehicle and made personal notification or notification by registered letter. If 14 days after the official notification the abandoned vehicle has not be removed the vehicle or property owner will be fined $100 plus costs. A second notification will result in a $250 fine plus cost and a third notification will result in a $500 fine plus costs. The aldermen voted unanimously four times to place the ordinance on first, second, third readings and final passage. An emergency was declared making the ordinance effective immediately.

Mayor Riley announced the Basler property will be turned over to the city by the end of July and the council voted, with Alderman Mitchell Tipton abstaining, to allow the Caraway Industrial Team the ability to advertise the property in hopes of getting a new factory to locate in the building.

The Caraway Equine City will have several events in the coming months including a 4-H fun show July 18, events Aug. 27 and 29 and a full rodeo for the city's Harvest Fest.

Rob Rash, of the St. Francis Levee District, spoke to the Caraway City Council about purchasing land for the Levee District. (Town Crier photo/Christie Zolman)

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