Gen­try ap­proves buy­ing ex­ca­va­tor, pur­su­ing park land

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - RANDY MOLL Randy Moll may be reached by email at

GEN­TRY — The City Coun­cil ap­proved buy­ing a mini ex­ca­va­tor for the city.

Mayor Kevin John­ston said the city found a new 2016 Cater­pil­lar Model 304E with at­tach­ments at Riggs Cat in Spring­dale for $53,308.

Gen­try’s Wa­ter and Sewer Com­mit­tee re­viewed and rec­om­mended buy­ing the ex­ca­va­tor for the Wa­ter and Sewer De­part­ment and Street De­part­ment with money bud­geted for equip­ment in both de­part­ments.

John­ston said the city in­tended to buy a bull­dozer this year and an ex­ca­va­tor next year but no bull­doz­ers had be­come avail­able.

In­cluded equip­ment in­cludes four buck­ets and a hy­draulic thumb. The dif­fer­ent-size buck­ets will al­low the city to use the ma­chine for a va­ri­ety of jobs, in­clud­ing lay­ing wa­ter line, con­nect­ing me­ters, clean­ing out drainage ditches and work on streets and al­leys. John­ston es­ti­mated the ma­chine would save the city con­sid­er­able money in la­bor costs.

Ad­di­tional equip­ment also be­ing con­sid­ered are a trailer to move the ex­ca­va­tor to job sites around the city and, at some point in the fu­ture, an at­tach­ment to break rocks and pave­ment.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers said they viewed the pur­chase as a bar­gain for the city.

The coun­cil also ap­proved ne­go­ti­at­ing to buy 14.5 acres along the west side of the Kansas City South­ern Rail­road ad­ja­cent to the Gen­try Ceme­tery. The land is near 11 acres to the south of Smith and Lit­tle Av­enues the city re­cently bought.

John­ston said the land was be­ing of­fered to the city for $70,000 and, if pur­chased, would give the city about 29 acres to the west of the rail­road for park ameni­ties. Should the land pur­chase move for­ward, au­tho­riza­tion to buy the land would be brought back to the coun­cil.

John­ston told the coun­cil the Park Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee put to­gether a “laun­dry list” of pos­si­ble ameni­ties peo­ple may wish to have in the city’s parks.

Among items men­tioned when the Park Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee met to work on a plan were:

■ Base­ball/soft­ball/T-ball/ ma­chine-pitch fields,

■ Soc­cer fields

■ Bas­ket­ball, vol­ley­ball and ten­nis courts

■ Splash pad

■ Dog park

■ Disc golf

■ Moun­tain bike course

■ Re­strooms,

■ Pav­il­ions

■ Play­ground equip­ment,

■ Walk­ing and bi­cy­cling trails

The list and other sug­ges­tions will be used to form the ba­sis of sur­veys to de­ter­mine what res­i­dents want for park ameni­ties. A plan will be de­vel­oped to de­ter­mine the best lo­ca­tion for those ameni­ties and ways to pay for the work.

John­ston said the meet­ing and list were just a first step in de­ter­min­ing Gen­try would like to see in its park sys­tem.

The coun­cil ap­proved pay­ing $22,000 for McClel­lend Con­sult­ing En­gi­neers to de­velop a park plan, in­clud­ing the land pro­posed for pur­chase.

John­ston said the city was wait­ing for the re­sults of core sam­ples taken at the Flint Creek Bridge on Dawn Hill Road and should know soon what course of ac­tion will be nec­es­sary to re­pair the bridge and open it to traf­fic. The bridge was dam­aged in the spring floods and closed to traf­fic be­cause the bridge sup­ports were un­der­mined by the rag­ing wa­ter.

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