The Walnut Ridge City Council passed a resolution at Monday night’s meeting authorizing Mayor Charles Snapp to apply for Federal-aid Recreational Trail Program funds to widen and resurface the road through Stewart Park.

The city is seeking a $215,878 grant, with an 80-20 match. If received, the grant will be used to resurface the road and widen it two feet to allow more room for bikers and walkers.

Snapp also gave an update on the work being done through another grant received for Stewart Park.

He noted that the new toddler playground has been ordered and should be installed the end of this month.

Bids received for concrete and fencing work came in higher than anticipated, which will cause those projects to be rebid.

“The bids came in $153,000 over budget,” Snapp said. “We will rebid next month. If bids are still too high, we will call a special meeting.”

An increase in the cost of materials was definitely a factor, according to Snapp, who said the fencing bid was 40 percent higher than the anticipated bid.

There was also some storm damage at the park, and insurance adjusters have already been out to survey that, according to Snapp.

In other business:

Snapp reported that as of Monday the street department resumed normal duties, following the severe storm system that caused major wind damage in the city. He noted that Walnut Ridge has received an outpouring of support from surrounding communities during the recovery process, which is ongoing.

City Attorney Ethan Weeks said he expects to hear back from the attorney for J.R. and Michelle Rogers in the next two weeks, and he is hopeful that a settlement can be reached. He told council members that a settlement would be much quicker than going through the court system, which is backed up due to postponements during the pandemic. Several council members expressed that they hoped to be ready to make a decision at next month’s meeting on whether or not to move forward with discovery in the lawsuit regarding the building that was torn down and cleaned up by the city.

The council voted to appoint Naomi Mullen to the Planning Commission as recommended by Mayor Snapp. Mullen will complete the term of Brad Flippo, who resigned due to work obligations making it difficult for him to serve.

Snapp reported that asphalt overlay work was scheduled to begin just as the city was hit with the severe weather, and after doing a few street, the asphalt company decided it would be better to come back after the cleanup was complete. He said they should give about a week’s notice when they are ready to resume work.

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