Leachville City Council to move forward with grant process

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Leachville City Council members discussed moving forward in a grant application process at a special called meeting on Monday, Aug. 15. Council members have been discussing the possibility of applying for a matching grant for a splash pad to be placed at the city park.

A public meeting held in July drew positive comments from several citizens present.

Mayor Ralph Wells, City Clerk Ruth Ann Keith, and five council members discussed the needs and what it would take to meet the guidelines and submit an application by the Aug. 26 deadline.

Council member Michael Webster had gathered more information on the cost of the project and asked for the meeting to share the information and to see if city officials wanted to go forward with the project.

Webster pointed out a portion of the city's part can be in-kind labor.

The estimated total cost of the project is $115,000 to $120,000.

"Looking over what the city and volunteers can do, about half of the city's share of the project could be done with in-kind labor," Webster said. "It will still cost us at least $30,000 to $45,000."

Webster said he and Councilwoman Lisa Baldridge had met at the city park with a representative of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Zack Foster of Pocahontas.

"Mr. Foster said the area at the park would work," Webster said.

The last grant the city received from the Department of Parks and Tourism was in 1999.

Keith pointed out 11 days was not much time to get everything together.

"I think we can do this but I don't know if we can it in by the deadline," Keith said.

Keith said the city is liable for three grants they are working on including a $15,000 match (pending) and a $10,000 match grant (approved). The city is also working on a $465,000 grant to help with sewer expansion.

She suggested contacting Emily Hatchcock with the Arkansas Planning and Development Commission to direct them in the grant process.

"She is really good to help us," Keith said.

Keith said she would not want to turn in a deficient grant application.

The council said maybe they could get volunteers and donations to help with the project.

"If we could get it and only be out $30,000 I think it would be great," Webster said. "I want it to be a good thing for the city. I don't want it to be something that would cost the citizens a lot."

Baldridge suggested getting a committee and working together.

Webster said he would be willing to pick up and track down paperwork needed. Councilwoman Teresa Johnson said she is willing to help in the evenings after work.

"I don't see why we can't move forward in the process," Johnson said.

Other council members present were Tommy Stone and Ethel Hetler.

The council voted unanimously to move forward to apply for the grant for a splash pad.

Keith will start on it and contact council members to help gather needed documents.

Keith also asked the council to approve her signing the five year contract to authorize the check free pay to continue collecting gas and electricity bills through the water office. She had the city attorney look over it and he said it was okay with a few changes from the last contract. She went on to say the service is a convenience for area residents, especially the older people. The computer was down for a few days but it is back up and running. The council voted unanimously giving Keith the authority to sign the contract.

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