Leachville public meetings draw favorable comments for park grant and sewer expansion

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Back to back public meetings were held in Leachville Monday evening, July 25, starting with a discussion on pursuing a matching grant for a possible splash pad at the city park.

"We are here to hear comments," Clerk Ruth Ann Keith said. "We want community input."

Possible projects discussed for the park included a splash pad, basketball courts and benches.

Leachville citizens attending the public meeting on a grant for the city park look over drawings of a splash pad.

"The grant will not be free," Councilman Michael Webster said. "The city will have to match the grant."

City officials are looking into the possibility of in-kind match in labor, equipment or materials.

Mayor Ralph Wells said they will need to look into the upkeep of a splash pad. He said some of the surrounding towns have one and they could talk to them.

Councilwoman Karen Wallace said a possibility could be getting a smaller pad and later expanding it when funds become available.

"We would love to have it in town for our kids," she said.

Webster will try to get a breakdown on the total cost.

Mayor Wells said he is sure no one would object to the council looking into it.

"We have plenty of room for it at the park," Mayor Wells said. "We looked at a splash pad several years ago but we did not have the money."

Several Leachville citizens attended the meeting and the comments were favorable.

One citizen said it would be great for the children.

"We have to take our children to the neighboring towns," one father said.

One gentleman attending said he would be willing to take vacation days to volunteer if it would help with the in-kind labor.

Keith suggested persons willing to volunteer leave their name and number at city hall.

Buffalo Island Central teacher Matt Sills commented investing in the park could instill pride in the community.

The group discussed ways to cut down on vandalism at the park. Mayor Wells said vandalism is a problem all towns seem to have. The possibility of more police patrol and video cameras were discussed.

The consensus of the guests attending the meeting was in favor of the council pursuing a grant for a splash pad (or any equipment that would enhance the park for the children) if the cost made it possible for the city.

Wastewater system extension topic of public meeting

Wayne Menley, president project manager with Miller-Newell speaks to the Leachville Council at a public meeting.

A second public meeting was held to discuss grant/loan possibilities for a wastewater system extension to the newly annexed area of the city.

Mayor Wells introduced Wayne Menley, P.E., project manager with Miller-Newell Engineers, Inc., who talked about the applications for grants/loans to extend the wastewater system south of Swihart Road to Arkansas Highway 18.

"We have been looking at putting sewer to Highway 18 for 20 years," Menley said. "We went part of the way several years ago. We are here to take public comments on the project. With Highway 18 going four-lane from Blytheville to Jonesboro the area will be a great place for businesses to locate which will provide more jobs. When traveling, I stop at businesses on the highway I am traveling."

He went on to talk about possible grants to help fund the project and the project design.

The proposed project will consist of construction of a combination gravity and pressure collection system.

The total estimated cost of the project is $465,253.

Preliminary plans showed running the system behind the chemical business and across the highway.

Menley said LIDC had committed $50,000 for the project and they are applying for a grant from Delta Regional for $250,000. The remainder of the cost will be applied for a grant and loan from USDA.

"We are trying to get as much grant as possible for the citizens of Leachville," Menley said.

If the project is funded and approved, residents who hook up with the project will only have to pay from the septic tank to the service line. Later, it will cost the homeowner more because they will have to be responsible to put in a grinder station.

Councilman Webster asked if Leachville's present system is adequate to handle the extension.

"Yes, the system can handle the extension with no problem," Menely said.

Easements and right-of-ways were discussed and the potential growth of the area if sewer is extended.

If approved, the actual construction time would be 120 days, weather permitting.

"Basically, we are waiting to see if the funds will be available," Menley said.

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