Eureka Springs seeks grant for Aud meeting space

Friday, March 1, 2019

By Samantha Jones

The Eureka Springs City Council is hoping to create a new meeting space in the downstairs of The Auditorium.

On Monday night, the council approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Butch Berry to apply for a grant from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to remodel the area into an ADA-compliant meeting space. The resolution says the total cost of the project will be $132,346, with the grant providing $60,000 and the city kicking in $72,346 in matching funds.

"This does not mean we've got the grant," Berry said. "This is just a resolution saying if we get the grant, we will match the portion required."

Alderwoman Mickey Schneider asked when the council will know whether the city has received the grant, and Berry said it should be sometime in April or May. If the city doesn't get the grant, Berry said, the council will continue discussing how to make the remodel possible.

During public comments, citizen Joyce Knowles opposed the idea of remodeling the downstairs of The Auditorium. Knowles said the council turned down a deal from the Eureka Springs Community Center to hold city meetings that would only cost $5,000 a year.

"I just want you to ask yourself this," Knowles said. "Can you be better? Can you stop and think of how you spend this money and maybe come up with a different idea?"

Also at the meeting, the council heard from Schneider about a proposed ordinance revoking an ordinance regarding planning commission membership. Schneider said Ordinance 2179 addresses having council members on the commission, saying it would be unfair for a council member to vote on the same issue at two different meetings.

"It has been determined that for the safety and well-being of our people and city in general, it would be better to just revoke this ordinance and not allow a councilman to sit on planning," Schneider said, "because any issue that goes to planning comes to council. If you could vote on it both times, it would be very unfair to the people."

Alderman Terry McClung moved to approve the proposed ordinance on its first reading, and the council unanimously agreed to do so.

The council heard from city finance director Lonnie Clark about the city's 2017 legislative audit. Clark said the auditors didn't find any major problems but said the city always gets criticized for not segregating the duties in the finance department.

"We can't afford to hire enough people to segregate all the duties as they would like them to be," Clark said.

McClung moved to accept the audit, and the council agreed to do so.

In other business, the council voted to create an ordinance updating sidewalk repair requirements and approved a proposed ordinance vacating an alley at 11 Midway on first and second readings.

The council's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, March 11, at The Auditorium.

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