Brock joins Beryville council

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

There wasn’t much on the agenda for the Berryville City Council’s first meeting of the new year, but there was one important thing to take care of.

Just before the meeting, Carroll County District Judge Dale Ramsey administered the oath of office to new council member David Brock, who was appointed last month to serve the remainder of former council member JoAnn Harris’ term.

“I think he’s going to be a good one,” said Mayor Tim McKinney, speaking by phone after the Jan. 4 meeting. “David’s been a part of the community for many years, and I think his work experience will fit in well with his service as a council member, and we’re looking forward to working with him.”

David Brock

Harris, who tendered her resignation from the Ward 2, Position 2, seat in late November citing continuing health issues, had herself been appointed to serve the remainder of the late Cindy George’s term after George’s death in 2019.

Brock, a Marshall native who’s lived in Berryville for more than 20 years, was the only Ward 2 resident to express interest after the vacancy was declared, saying in a letter to McKinney that “I feel I have a great understanding of the goals and the concerns of the citizens.”

Speaking with Carroll County News after the meeting, Brock, who works as a vice president of office operations for Carroll Electric, said he felt it was important to provide service to the city.

“Honestly, it was just — not to sound vanilla — but just to do my civic duty,” Brock said. “I love the town of Berryville. I’ve never lived in a town where the people are as kind and giving and caring. It’s amazing how this town comes together when there’s a need. I see the city is growing and I see the growth in Northwest Arkansas coming this way, and I just want to be sure our city’s there to meet the needs with that growth.”

Fellow Ward 2 council member Linda Riddlesperger said she was glad to see someone step up so quickly.

“We’re glad to have him aboard,” Riddlesperger said. “I had not met him before, but I’m looking forward to working with him. I think he’ll be a great asset to the city.”

In other business, McKinney addressed the city’s continuing plans to construct a walking trail linking the city’s community center with the historical spring linked to the town’s founding near the corner of U.S. 62 and Spring Street.

“We’ve been working on and redid the spring down there, that park area, and we’re building trails up to it,” McKinney said. “We’ve got all the easements except one, and that landowner has said they’re going to sign, then they won’t sign and they’re going to sell the property and don’t know about the new owner. And it’s just gone back and forth literally for months.”

That last remaining easement incorporates a 10-foot wide strip of land extending 75 feet and crossing behind the Good Shepherd Humane Society Thrift Store on U.S. 62 to the spring.

The repeated delays in obtaining the easement, McKinney said, have finally brought things to a head.

“It’s looking more and more like we’re going to have to condemn it to go ahead and get to work,” McKinney said. “One reason we wanted to get started — and it’s almost getting too late now by the time we go through the process — was that there’s a lot of work we can do in-house with our own parks department, especially in the winter. That’s when they usually do projects because we’re so busy cutting cutting grass all summer.”

McKinney said the city offered the owner $10 a foot — a total of $750 — for the property, an offer that was initially accepted. McKinney recommended to the council that if the easement isn’t signed in the next two weeks, the city should begin condemnation procedures to obtain the property.

“That’s about twice what the gas company would give you, I think,” McKinney said. “It’s just a matter of we’ve got to get this thing started. Maybe this will spur them on to get it taken care of.”

The council voted to approve McKinney’s recommendation.

“Even if the property sells, we’ve still got to have the easement,” McKinney said. “No matter who it is, we’re going to have to go through that, so my recommendation is if they don’t get the signed easement — they’ve got it in their hands — In the next couple of weeks, we go ahead with condemnation procedures so we can get this project started.”

The council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 18, at Berryville City Hall.

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