The Walnut Ridge City Council voted to purchase a 2005 Spartan Crimson Gladiator 75” Quint fire truck at its meeting on Monday night.

WRFD Chief Chris Jones reported that the department’s current ladder truck is out of commission after failing its annual inspection.

He told council members that repairs would be costly and while the truck had provided the much-needed ladder, it did not have the ability to carry water, so a second truck was always needed to provide the water supply.

“Because the ladder truck didn’t carry water, it was not the first truck to use,” he said. “There have been some big fires, that it would have been helpful to have the ladder truck be the first on the scene.”

He said the new truck provides a ladder and carries water.

“This truck will come out first with another engine,” he said. “This is a lot better vehicle than the last two we’ve had.”

After using the current ladder truck for a trade-in, the city will pay $212,000 for the new truck.

Mayor Charles Snapp said, “This is what we’ve been working toward – getting the city in shape to be able to make upgrades like this.”

Council members also authorized Snapp to accept for bids on asphalt overlay work. Snapp said after the ice and snow the city received earlier this year, it was decided to increase the money allotted for overlay work to $350,000.

“We are already working on a list of streets that need work,” he said. “We will rate them and then figure out how many miles can be done based on the winning bid.”

Also on Monday, council members approved a rezoning request from Roger and Tammy Swindle. The council voted to rezone 3506 Hwy. 67 North from R-1 to C-3 as recommended by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

Council Member Larry Abbott said a public meeting was held with nobody speaking against the rezoning.

In other business:

Snapp updated council members that the four-year option for the ASU Disaster Training Facility to be developed at the Walnut Ridge Airport is nearing its end. The city had designated $25,000 as an incentive to pay two year’s rent. “If they are not ready to move forward by October, we will move the $25,000 back to the general fund,” Snapp said, noting the council would then revisit incentives at a later date if the project progresses.

The council authorized Snapp to apply for a $10,000 grant on behalf of the Walnut Ridge Airport to help fund engineering and architect work for the possible rehabilitation of Hangar 29, the WWII hangar that more recently housed Morgan Portable Buildings. Additional grant funds will be sought to fund the project.

Snapp announced that the city pool would be closed again this summer while work is done in the pool area and other parts of Stewart Park through a grant. “To be assured it will be completed in this fiscal year, we will keep the pool closed one more year then open it up with all the improvements,” he said.

The council voted to contract with Mark Nichols with Traffic Engineering Solutions to develop a plan to install roadway lighting along Highway 67B from the fire station to the Highway 67 intersection. The $11,000 fee will be paid using economic development funds.

Council members authorized the destruction of outdated city records.

Snapp reported that the legislative audit report had been completed with no reportable findings.

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