Caraway Council discusses re-instating a park commission

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Jeff Presley, Jonesboro E 911 Director and candidate for County Judge, addressed the Caraway Council and guests at the March meeting. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Jeff Presley, 911 emergency coordinator and candidate for Craighead County Judge, addressed the Caraway City Council on Thursday, March 8. Mayor Barry Riley introduced Mr. Presley.

City officials discussed re-instating a park commission to oversee the ball park in an attempt to get it up and running for ball games and other activities.

Jeremy Garland spoke to the council about taking on the responsibility of park commissioner. Garland is a licensed umpire and has helped with the Lake City ball fields.

“I would like to have the opportunity to work on the fields and see the ball park back up and running like it once was,” Garland said. “I am not asking for anything in return. The ballpark could be a main point for Caraway.”

Some of his suggestions included the park serving as a middle point for baseball and softball games, partnering with Lake City to be used for overflow games and practices. Tournaments could be hosted and Caraway would be a good middle point for teams from Blytheville, Osceola or Marion.

“It would be good for Caraway,” Garland said. “We have a business in Caraway and what is good for Caraway is good for all of the businesses.”

Councilman Bo James asked Garland his goals for the ballpark.

“I've talked to coaches and they say the dugouts need to be moved in, the wall cleaned, the park needs to be swept out twice a week, the white wall has mold and needs cleaning,” he said.

He talked about the upkeep, preparing the fields and having licensed umpires on hand for scheduled games.

He said if the city approved, he would like to take on the responsibility.

“It is a big job but I like the idea,” Councilman James said.

Mayor Riley said the checkbook would need to be at city hall with the city bookkeeper taking care of the checkbook. Riley said to re-instate the park commission an ordinance would have to be passed but the council agreed Garland could start now getting everything in order.

Garland said there was a scheduling meeting March 17-18.

Councilman James said if Mr. Garland is willing to step up and get the job done the council should look into giving him a bonus at the end of the year.

Council members thanked him for his interest and they all expressed their desire to see the ballpark in use.

Presently there are no youth teams in Caraway.

Mayor Riley informed the council the Teona Bowman property is being signed over to the city the first of next week. The city has a lien on the property, presently $7,000.

The council discussed several options including auctioning the property, trading the property, or sealed bids.

Comments from the council included wanting to be fair to anyone interested in the property.

The council tabled the decision until the city had ownership of the property and Mayor Riley could discuss it with the city attorney.

Pictures of the Browning property on main street were taken and shown to the city attorney. Mayor Riley said there are no grounds to condemn Property #13 as it does not have overhangs to be dangerous but the smaller sheet metal building is dangerous and need to be removed.

The council voted to give the owners 30 days to take it down to the slab.

“If we do it for one we need to do the same for everyone,” Councilman James said. “No one wants to take the property.”

Councilman Roger Williams asked if the city had offered to help. Mayor Riley said they had offered to push the building down.

After a discussion with water/sewer superintendent Terry Couch about policy procedures for dumping waste, the council voted unanimously to ban all waste dumping from companies effective April 1. They agreed that will give them enough time to find other places. Couch said presently the larger companies have been allowed to dump once a month.

In other business:

*Mayor Riley asked everyone to get the word out March 26 will be curbside clean sweep in Caraway. Citizens are encouraged to put their unwanted items out to be picked up.

*The council has been invited to Riverside High School for an assembly honoring Lexi Roberson for winning a state youth volunteer award.

*March 31, 1 p.m., will be the annual Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the city of Caraway.

*The annual youth fishing rodeo has been set for May 5.

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