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Local group petitions council to rename city street

The Carlisle Day Committee spoke to the city council during its Tuesday night meeting in an effort to have a local street renamed.

According to Millie Dowd, a Carlisle Day committee member, the Carlisle Day committee would like to propose that the city rename McDonald Street to Willard D. Lewis Street. Dowd said Lewis was the principal of Westside Elementary in Carlisle from 1954-1968. Westside was an all-black school before it was integrated with Carlisle Elementary School.

“We would like to honor Westside Elementary school by changing the street name from McDonald to Willard D. Lewis,” Dowd said.

Dowd said Lewis will be honored during the Carlisle Day Celebration this year. She said as principal of Westside Elementary, he encouraged his students to look beyond ever situation and to dream. Dowd said Lewis always said, “You can always dream and do better”.

“He was a future visionary,” Dowd said.

Dowd said one of his most memorable statements was, “Don’t look at the condition of the book, look at the context within the book”.

While maps and GPS systems will need to be updated to reflect the change, one important question the council had was how it would effect 911 service in the event of an emergency. Carlisle Police Chief Eric Frank said although it would take two years to update GPS systems, he does not believe it would be a problem to have the street changed as far as 911 services were concerned.

“It wouldn’t be a major issue to change 911,” Carlisle Police Chief Eric Frank said.

Carlisle Mayor Ray Glover said this would need to be a decision of the people living in the area. He said the Carlisle Day Committee will need to “poll the people” and get signatures. Once signatures have been gathered, the proposal will be taken to the city planning committee. The proposed street change would only affect residents living on McDonald between second and tenth street. No action was taken by the council.

In other business, the Carlisle Airport Commission came before the council to discuss funding for the construction of a new eight bay t-hangar at the airport. According to a letter from John K. Knight, Director of the State of Arkansas Department of Aeronautics, the Carlisle Municipal Airport was approved for an 80/20 grant request during the Feb. 12 meeting of the Arkansas Aeronautics Commission.

Although the city has been approved for the grant, the full amount is required to be paid upfront. Total cost of the construction is estimated to be $414,025. Since the city does not have appropriated funds to pledge the full amount of the construction and the airport commission does not have any assets that can be used for a loan, it was decided the best avenue for securing the funding would be for the city finance a line of credit through a short term loan. Once the payment for the construction has been made, the city will then be reimbursed $328,820, the 80 percent Arkansas Department of Aeronautics Grant. The remaining 20 percent, $85,205, will be paid for out of the airport funds.

The council unanimously approved ordinance 301, authorising the mayor and city clerk treasure to execute all appropriate documents to obtain financing for a $414,025 short term loan from BancorpSouth Bank.

Also during the meeting, the council unanimously voted to:

- Spend $32,076 for the purchase for a 2007 dump truck from Diamond International in North Little Rock.

- Purchase four, 55-gallons drums of Mosquito One chemical from Clarke of Roselle, Illinois for $8,065.28

During discussion of the district court, Glover told the council that the city has received payment from the county for the 2012-2013 expenses. He said because the county makes quarterly payments, January through March expenses will not be paid until the first of April.

Alderman Mike Walker was absent from the meeting. The next city council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on April 15 in the Civic Center.

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