Gentry approves buying excavator, pursuing park land
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
■ 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.