Parks commission OKs Lake Leatherwood tax allocations

Friday, March 8, 2019

By Samantha Jones

Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com

The Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission has big plans for Lake Leatherwood City Park this year.

On Thursday, Feb. 28, the commission agreed to allocate $85,500 of the Lake Leatherwood tax to various projects in the park. Parks director Justin Huss said the allocations include the shuttle system for the downhill mountain biking trails, new trash cans and picnic tables, LED lighting and maintenance on the trails.

"For the trails, this is going to include our work on the tunnel installing the grate there," Huss said. "We're having a safety issue in that tunnel we'd like to address."

Huss said the shuttle system has been going well, saying it has brought in $6,000 "despite horrendous weather." There is a second shuttle, Huss said, but it's not necessary until 30 or more people sign up for the shuttle.

"As you can see in December through February, that's nine days of income," Huss said. "We've had two decent weekends in this time period to really go spend the weekend at Leatherwood. I think that's showing a pretty good revenue."

Huss said the new trash cans and picnic tables will add to the visitor experience, and the LED lighting at the ballfields will save the commission at least 10 percent on electric bills.

"That adds up really fast," Huss said. "We could recoup that money pretty well and become more efficient. It's cost-efficient and it gets us a step closer to evaluating solar as an option by reducing usage."

Huss said he didn't have an estimate for how much the LED lighting will cost yet but said he plans to get those numbers soon. Commissioner Steven Foster moved to allocate the funds for Lake Leatherwood operations, and commissioner Cameron DeNoewer said he didn't want to approve the LED lighting until Huss can get an estimate on cost.

"I would be more comfortable if we could delay that on the LED," DeNoewer said. "I really don't want to get into our discretionary funds."

Foster amended his motion to allocate the funds for LED lighting once Huss gets an estimate. The commission unanimously approved the allocations.

Also at the meeting, Huss asked the commission to allocate money for storm repairs. Huss said the allocations total $51,754.79 and include repairs to boats, life jackets, the dock, bait shop and bath house. Foster moved to approve the allocations, and the commission unanimously agreed to do so.

The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, at The Auditorium.

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