Caraway Council discusses park improvements

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Following the Caraway City Council meeting, Councilman Roger Williams (left) and park commissioner chairman Jeremy Garland look over the park area. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Among the business discussed at the July 12 Caraway City Council meeting were park improvements, water well repairs, property bids and an addition to the police department.

Mayor Barry Riley said water superintendent Terry Couch could not be at the meeting to report on the water well problem, but he informed the council sand had been pulled up from the well. He said Couch is working on it. Mayor Riley said he had talked to State Representative Dan Sullivan about any funding available to help the city if the problem is “huge.”

“Hopefully, another line can be dropped in,” Mayor Riley said.

Mayor Riley said there had been two bids for the property at 410 West State Street, one for $5,000 and one for $6,000.

The city has $7,800 in the property after the clean up and surveying, but following a discussion the council agreed it is better for the city to take the larger bid and sell the property.

Councilman Bo James said there should be a stipulation that no mobile or modular homes could be placed on the property.

Mayor Riley informed the council Police Chief Shannon Kelems recommended hiring Wyatt Wheaton as police officer. His training is completed. The mayor then recommended Kelems' salary be set at $28,000 a year.

The council agreed unanimously.

All council members, Bo James, John Boatman, Mitchell Tipton, Roger Williams, Marvin Browning and Jerry Martin, were present.

Mayor Riley informed the council the air conditioning unit went out in the police department's offices. Following a discussion, the council agreed, due to the age of the unit , it would be better to purchase a new one rather than repair the old unit. The council approved the purchase a new unit, up to $4,000, to be paid from the General Fund.

Jeremy Garland, park commissioner, and council members discussed needs of the park. Garland asked about patching the tennis courts and the need of access to a lawn mower to keep the grass in the ballpark area mowed.

He said the commissioners are willing to mow the grass when they get off work after hours but the mowers are locked up and they have to contact Mayor Riley or a city employee.

“We are not blaming the city workers, we know they have a lot do and a lot of other mowing,” Garland said. “We are willing to mow the ballpark area but we have to have a mower.”

Paving projects at the park discussed included adding a second basketball court, repaving the walking track and repairs to the tennis courts.

Mayor Riley said while the pavers are here doing other work, he would check on the cost for the park.

“Get prices and then we can go from there,” Councilman Williams said.

The council was in agreement to look into the purchase of a lawn mower for the park commissioners to use at the ball field. Councilman James said he would contact Greenway to see if they might have a used mower available.

Garland also informed the council inmates from Mississippi County will be in Caraway working on the park. Work planned includes painting the fence, hanging signs and moving bleachers. He said work will begin on the dugouts. Also, the field will be sodded.

He talked about the fall ball sign-ups. There will be no gate charge but the city will receive the concessions.

“We want to have at least one game a week during the fall season,” he said.

The small softball field will be ready for the junior high softball fall season.

During the citizen comments Jerry Hughes noted there was a hole in the parking lot that needed repairing and he requested when the council changed regular meeting times to let people know by using the marquee in front of city hall.

Councilman Tipton said he had been asked by a real estate agent about placing the Basler building for lease for a manufacturing company.

“I told him I would ask,” Tipton said. “Of course, we would have to have stipulations on what goes in and the number of jobs. The real estate company leases on a six percent of the rent. So if it is not rented, there is no cost to the city.”

The factory building is presently leased as a warehouse. Mayor Riley said he was sure if the city could get something in there to bring in jobs the person leasing it for a warehouse would work with the city.

Councilman James said he liked the idea.

“The more people we have out there looking maybe something will come up to bring in jobs,” James said.

The council agreed they are interested in getting more information. They invited a representative to the next meeting to discuss the issue.

Councilman Williams thanked everyone for their help on the Fourth of July celebration.

Councilman James said he had talked to Dr. Michael Oldham and he thanked the city for working with him on the apartment project he is building in Caraway. James said Dr. Oldham is ready to start phase two, building more units on the property, but needs the road built.

Tipton said Couch told him he needed to put a sewer line down before the road was built.

Mayor Riley said he would talk to Couch about it.

James also asked about clean-up at the factory building across from the apartments. He said he would like to see a time line on the clean-up.

The next regular city council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9.

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