At a City Council meeting Monday night, Public Works Director Buddy Fry told council members the city would move forward with construction of a sidewalk along the highway from Lee Court to Hickman Lane.
Speaking later that night, Mayor Charles Reece said highway officials had given him the green light on the project.
The announcement is significant because the sidewalk will be within the boundaries of the proposed highway expansion; were it to occur, the new stretch of sidewalk would have to be ripped up, along with everything else, to make way for the bigger roadway.
City officials had previously said they would not break ground until the highway commission had announced their intentions.
This is because, if the highway were widened through the city, the $104,000 set aside for the project would be lost. Reece said highway officials had addressed this concern.
"They did say also that if something came up, and they needed the right of way, that they would dig it up and replace it," Reece said. He added that the department's statement "didn't make sense" to him.
Though highway officials maintains no decision has been reached, commissioners expanded the scope of the project last month to give the department more flexibility in spending the $17.39 million allotted for the job.
That move paved the way for the state to, potentially, scuttle the expansion and use the money on improvements elsewhere in Carroll County. Monday night's announcement seems to lend further credibility to this scenario.
In other news, Reece told council members that weekly chemical costs at the city's wastewater treatment plant were lower than normal. Costs have soared in recent months, mostly due to pollution levels coming from Tyson's Green Forest facility, which produces the majority of waste processed at the plant.
The city has been working with officials at Tyson to better manage waste and control costs. Reece said chemical costs for the last week had been just under $6,000, compared to the typical $10,000 to $11,000.
In addition to the sidewalk construction, Fry updated council on several other road projects. He said work was nearly complete on the the repaving of South Arch Street.
The 6th Street ditch project might finally move forward, also. Reece said a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman had told him last week that the city would receive needed permits by Tuesday.
The project, meant to alleviate drainage problems along the street, has dragged on for several years while the city awaited permits. The mayor said he was prepared to solicit bids as soon as the documents were in his hands.
A project to install a landscaped median on Phillips Street is still delayed, however, pending state approval of easements, Fry said.
In other business, the council:
* Heard from Green Forest Police Chief John Bailey, who said the police department was being considered for a grant to install security cameras within and near the entrance to the city courtroom. He told council members the cameras could be used for live streaming of council meetings. He also said the department was also including in the grant application a request for a new laptop, to be used for video arraignments.
* Heard from Green Forest Fire Chief Tim Howard, who told council members of bids for a new fire hose and joints. Reece said he planned to approve $1,516 for the purchases.
* Heard from Reece about two ongoing audits. Reece said the audits were routine. State auditors will visit City Hall Wednesday to review the city's general fund. A separate audit, of the sewer and water departments is being conducted by a private contractor.