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Ward parking ordinance delayed

Agenda items for the March 8 Ward City Council meeting included extending the cable franchise for three months, and delaying adoption of the proposed city parking ordinance.

Mayor Art Brooke and aldermen Bill Moon, Lee Schoonover, Jeff Shaver, Gary Matheny, Charles Gastineau and Don Howard attended the meeting.

Aldermen approved an ordinance to extend SuddenLink’s franchise by 90 days.

City attorney Clint McGue said the extension is needed to learn whether the legislature is going to make changes to franchise requirements. Any changes would go into effect July 1, he said.

While a year’s extension is preferable, three months should be sufficient to let SuddenLink decide how to meet the changes, McGue said.

Also, the franchise agreement now in effect was approved in 1998 under a different provider, McGue said. “I would prefer that [Ward] had an agreement that [SuddenLink] signed as well,” he said.

The council approved the three-month extension by suspending the rules for the second and third readings.

The council also approved sending the proposed city parking ordinance back to the committee to consider changes recommended by McGue.

Among the rules the parking ordinance would define are what constitutes a vehicle, and distances from intersections, traffic signals and driveways required for parked vehicles.

It would also establish no-parking zones, such as for fire hydrants

In other matters, assistant city engineer David Stanley reviewed the city project reports.

The continued expansion of sidewalks for Ward Central Elementary School through the Safe Routes to School program is waiting word on the status of the grant applications, Stanley said.

The city’s plans for renovation of the junction of Arkansas Highways 367 and 319 with Hickory Street are awaiting guidance from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department on how to proceed, Stanley said. “We are still attempting to acquire the proper the audience with Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to verify how to proceed with the project,” he said.

The federal local use (LUZA) for the project must be obligated no later than September, Stanley said.

Brooke introduced Jeff Craig to the aldermen as a candidate for consideration to fill the vacant position on the Planning Commission.

“I have talked with [Craig] and am certainly going to recommend him,” Brooke said.

But before the aldermen can consider the appointment, commission chairman Gary Meadows needs to be consulted, Brooke said.

Craig said he has lived at Ward for six years, and is currently employed as general manager for a Ward business.

He said he graduated from ASU-Jonesboro with a bachelor’s in business management.

“All of my experience … is in management and operating businesses,” Craig said.

“What I am looking to do is get more involved in the city. Ward is a growing town and has a lot of things going for it,” Craig said.

Gastineau announced that the annual Ward Chamber of Commerce Banquet has been scheduled on May 10, with keynote speaker state Representative Davy Carter.

The next Ward City Council meeting will be May 13; planning commission meeting will be April 22; and the next Lonoke-White Public Water Authority will be May 7.

The citywide cleanup will be held 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 27.

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