The Lonoke City Council heard of the upcoming city wide spring clean up on Monday night during the council meeting.
The spring clean-up will be held April 20 and will run until April 27. Residents are asked to bring any unwanted items to the city shop, located at 1219 Barnes St. All items, excluding batteries, paint, building and construction materials or any other items that are unable to be disposed of in landfills, will be accepted. Tires will be accepted this year. Any elderly or disabled residents unable to transport their items my contact the city shop for assistance at 501-676-2422.
Brady Harrison, owner of 903 Court St. property, spoke with the council about the camper trailer on his property. He said he has be unable to work on the trailer as he is removing all but the frame and tries to be sold as scrap nor has he been able to remove all his belonging due to the weather.
“The weather has stopped me,” Harrison said. “I’m trying to clean it up.”
During the March meeting , Harrison, told the council that his camper trailer, which he was living in, caught fire March 2. Harrison said everything he owned was in the camper. He told the council he was keeping the camper on his vacant lot until he can get it repaired. He asked the council to give him time to clean the camper up and rebuild it. According to Harrison he was being harassed by city employees about the camper and the dogs he is keeping on the property.
Due to city ordinance, Harrison was in violation of city code. He was told by alderman Pat Howell that what he considered harassment was city employees doing their job, trying to make him aware of the violations he is making. City attorney Camille Bennett gave Harrison with a list of ordinances so he can be aware of what is allowed in the area where the property is located. With a 5-2 vote, Harrison was given an additional 30 days to remove the trailer, trash bags and dogs from the property.
It was put on the table to give Harrison until the next meeting to have the items removed. Mayor Wayne McGee offered the assistance of the city track hoe to remove the trailer if needed. Janie Dering, Danny Whitehurst, Wendall Walker, Efrem Jones, Raymond Hatton and Koy Butler voted to give Harrison until the next meeting. Pat Howell voted against the additional time.
According to Howell, he has seen little to no effort made by Harrison to clean up the property.
“I’m opposed because it’s [the camper] still going to be there in 30 days,” Howell said.
On behalf of his brother Larry Marchese, Ted Hofemeister was present during the meeting for discussion of condemnation the property located at 521 England St. Hofemeister said they have been looking into repairing the home to be used as retail property. He said they recently found that the home has foundation issue. Although they would like to further investigate fixing the foundation, he said his Marchese would be willing to donate the property to the city for use of a city park or anyway it might be useful to the city.
Due to their efforts of trying to remodel the property, the council unanimously voted to give Marchese and Hofemeister till the next meeting to further investigate repairing the foundation.
The council voted unanimously to give until the next meeting for the removal of old cars from the property located at 519 Hamburg and the clean up of debris at 519 Reynolds. McGee said they have been unable to access the property to remove the rubble because of the saturated ground.
In unanimous votes by the council, Fifth Street Apartments, the Mallard Point Golf Course, Third Street Apartments, 519 Reynolds, and 302 Teresa Lane will remain on the list of properties with issues until the May council meeting
By ordinance, the council unanimously voted to condemn the property located at 302 Teresa Lane owned by Farris and Dorothy McClain. According to the ordinance, the reason the property is being condemned is because the house is vacant and has been burned. The structure has been torn down but the debris has not been removed.
Police Chief Mike Wilson said Doug Carter’s new K-9 partner, Max, who is a Dutch Shepard, has arrived and been put to work. Wilson said he made his first felony arrest on his first day and a second since. Carter brought Max before the council during the meeting.
Parks Director Roy Don Lewis said the city held opening day on Saturday.
“It was the best opening day we’ve ever had,” Lewis said.
Lewis estimated 2,000-2,500 people were at the park on Saturday. He said 48 teams played that day and the gate collected $2,452 at $2 per adult. He said children, players and coaches were not charged admission.
With plans in hand, Lewis said plans have been finalized for the new restrooms at the park. The council unanimously approved to begin taking bids on its construction.
Lewis said he has been looking into prices for having the tennis court overlaid. He said he spoke with a company that said they would fill in the cracks of the court and reseal it, guaranteeing their work for three years. Cost will be $9,200 which will include a new net, repainting of the court and pole repair. He said they are also helping the city to apply for a grant which will pay up to $2,500 of the cost if received. Lewis said if awarded the grant, work can not begin until funds are received. The council approved to spend up to $9,200 for work on the tennis court.
The benches on the walking trail are in, according to Lewis. He said he plans to have them in place by the end of the week, depending on the rain.
Lewis also asked the council to approve the purchase of rubber flooring for the batting cages. He said cost per roll is $361.33 plus tax and three rolls per cage for. The council approved Lewis to spend up to $2,500 to install rubber flooring for all cages.
Center director Mike Brown presented the council with a drawing of an enclosed front desk for the Lonoke Community Center. He said in the cold winter months, it becomes unbearable for the desk clerks to sit at the front desk because of the constant opening and closing of the front doors, allowing cold air to enter the building. Over the past few months, Brown has been looking into enclosing part of the front walk with glass to help maintain the temperature in the front area of the center.
McGee questioned why the enclosure has gone from being an outside enclosure to an indoor enclosed front desk.
“This is just helping one person… its not helping everybody,” McGee said.
After in-depth discussion, the council agreed there should be a small glass foyer at the front entrance rather than an enclosed front desk.
“I think it would be better if it was stopping it at the front door,” Danny Whitehurst said.
“It might just help with heating and cooling bills,” McGee said.
The matter was tabled until the next meeting.
Brown said he is also in need of renewing his expired certification as a pool operator. He asked that he and one other be allowed to take the course to become certified so that the center will have three certified pool operators. The council unanimously approved to pay $600 for pool operator certification training for Brown and one other person.
In light of the new remodel of the gym area at the community center, Brown said he has noticed some of the equipment is being scuffed by the weights. He said he has found some rubberized weights for $1,100 that would stop this form happening.
“To keep our equipment looking good,” Brown said.
Brown also said he can trade in four pieces of old equipment, two of which are not working and get $250 off the price. The council unanimously approved the purchase of the rubberized weights.
The council also unanimously approved the purchase of new software for the community center for $199 per month, excluding equipment contingent upon it meeting the city auditor requirements and it is compatible with the city banking process.
Public Works Superintendent Brian Whitworth gave an update on public works. Whitworth said four of the six new hydrants have been installed. He said they found one on Plantation and one on Woodlawn that was encased in concrete. He said they plan to relocate both of those hydrants across the road, East of the intersection this week.
Whitworth also said the Highway 70 lift station needs a $5,701.79 replacement pump. The council unanimously approved the purchase of the pump.
The Lonoke Fire Chief Jimmy Wallace said during the month of February, the fire department received 11 calls, including three fire alarm calls, one brush fire, two mutual aid assistance call, one vehicle call and four others. Wallace said this month has lots of classes and trainings planned. He said the fire department has also applied for three grants they are waiting to hear back on and is in the process of purchasing some grain been rescue equipment from funds given by local farmers.
Wallace also said each year the department purchases five new sets of turnout gear. He said the life expectancy is only five years on the equipment and the cost is $2,500 per set. The council unanimously approved the $13,500 purchase for five turnout gear sets.
Michael Florence was absent from the meeting. The next regular scheduled City Council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on May 13 in the court room at City Hall.