Parking issue tops Vilonia council meeting

The lack of parking spaces at city parks was a subject of discussion at the April meeting of the Vilonia City Council.

The council approved spending up to $1,000 for striping a parking lot at the baseball fields after hearing about the problems from Johnny Alexander, who oversees that park operations. On another note, he requested a dugout for the T-ball field. Mayor James Firestone said he would try to resolve some of the issues.

Also discussed was parking problems at the soccer/softball complex on N. Mt. Olive. With soccer games, softball tournaments and events at the Museum of Veterans running simultaneously, officials discussed a lack in parking at all of the facilities. It was said the parking at the museum is being used by those going to games and blocking those visiting the museum. Museum officials said they plan to put up parking signs denoting museum parking only.

Other business:

 

  • Firestone re-appointed Brian Presley to the water board.
  • Accepted the resignation of Trey White on the planning commission and appointed Fred Fowlkes to fill the position. Firestone said he appreciated White’s service. “He brought a lot to the table,” Firestone said, adding that he was a certified engineer. He cited White’s resignation to his personal work schedule.
  • The council discussed an ordinance being drafted to re-establish a new rate schedule for building permits. It was said the proposed ordinance will be introduced at the May meeting. If approved, Firestone said, the rate will increase $50 per year for three years, capping at $300. Currently, the rate is $150 for residential permits. It is anticipated commercial rates will also increase to $500.

 

“Right now, we are behind,” Alderman Clay Heslep said. “We are losing money going out and doing inspections right now. We are way cheaper than anyone else.”

The ordinance will also establish that sub-contractors be listed on the permit with their license on file.

Reports from city entities:

—Emergency management. It was said that the fire department has responded to more than 200 calls this year. Training is ongoing. Two members will be going to the Arkansas Academy in May. Also, three members have just completed first responder training.

—There will be no meeting of the planning commission in April.

—Police department: Chief Brad McNew said the department is lacking one officer to be fully staffed. He also announced there have been several vehicles vandalized in the city including six in the Dove Creek subdivision and one at a church during church services. A surveillance video, he said, has been submitted into evidence. On that note, McNew encouraged residents to lock their automobiles.

He also spoke briefly concerning active shooter training the department recently conducted at the Vilonia Assembly of God where about 50 people participated.

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