GF council receives proposal for community building

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

By Haley Schichtl

The Green Forest city council heard a proposal for a new community building from Modus Studio at its meeting Tuesday, March 10.

“This is a project we got a community block grant for,” public works director Buddy Fry said. “We got $75,000 from Northwest Arkansas Economic Development. … A total budget we have right now is $222,500 as far as the available funds we have for the project.”

Fry said the city also has received $50,000 from Tyson and $7,500 from state Rep. Ron McNair’s office for the project.

Josh Siebert from Modus Studio showed the council some images of the projected building plans. Siebert said the projected site for the building is by the soccer fields.

The building would have restrooms, a place for concessions to be sold, a small community meeting room and a larger meeting room. Its projected size is around 2,200 square feet and would have a large overhang.

“We’ve done a lot of these types of pavilions in Bentonville. We find around these park areas is where people want to congregate,” Siebert said. “It serves a community in different capacities.”

Siebert said he just wanted to show the council the vision for the building, but the council did not have to make any decisions during the meeting. He said the company is expecting the total project to cost around $230,000, and the next step for the council is to find a contractor.

In other business, Mayor Jerry Carlton said the council still needs to advertise to fill the position of city recorder, which is temporarily being filled by John Bailey, and the council will address it again at the next meeting. Former recorder Melea Fry had her last day in January.

“It will be temporary, just until Dec. 31,” Carlton said. “Someone will have to run in the general election for 2021.”

The council also discussed the possibility of allowing fines to be paid by picking up trash.

“The mayor and I have discussed some issues we’ve seen along Main Street. There’s a few areas where trash seems to accumulate,” Bailey said. “If somebody can’t afford to pay fines, they can be ordered by the court to give so much time to the city.”

“We already have a community service program in place,” Carlton said. “There’s a list of things they can go do and is considered community service, but picking up trash off the highway has been taken off that list some time back.”`

Bailey said he would discuss the idea with Carroll County District Judge Dale Ramsey before the council takes a vote on it.

In other business, the council voted to purchase seven handheld radios for the fire department for $6,125 and a truck for the wastewater department for $29,376.

It also accepted a bid of $5,620 to repair the retaining wall behind the storefront on the east side of the square.

Fry said work at Larimer Park is almost finished; benches have to be bolted down and drainage has to be adjusted.

The council also decided to table the decision of when to pay off the North Rural Bond, which is $252,803.32.

“We’ve already paid pretty much all the interest we’re going to pay on that loan,” Carlton said. “What’s left is just principal.”

Council member Willa Kerby gave thanks to Fry, who has resigned from his position after serving the community for 16 years.

“Buddy has received in his time here over $1.64 million in grants for the city of Green Forest for things such as sidewalks, parks, drainage and community projects,” Kerby said. “He’s a problem-solver as well as a visionary…. What I appreciate most is his positive outlook and love for the city of Green Forest.”

Fry said his decision was based on financial preparations for retirement.

“I’ve enjoyed working for Green Forest. I’ve worked with some incredible people,” Fry said. “It’s like a family here … and it’s hard to walk away.”

Carlton thanked Fry for his service as well.

“I think we will have a hard time replacing you,” Carlton said. “Everybody here would agree that you’ve kept the city’s best interest above other interests.”

Carlton said Fry plans on leaving around the first of March, but wants to make sure he stays through finding his replacement.

The city council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 14.

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