Gen­try com­mit­tees talk speed lim­its, golf carts, engine brakes

Westside Eagle-Observer - - FRONT PAGE - By Randy Moll

GEN­TRY — A va­ri­ety of top­ics from engine brakes to golf carts and speed lim­its were dis­cussed at a meet­ing of Gen­try’s Street and Fi­nance Com­mit­tees on Sept. 6.

Adding some ad­di­tional street lights and up­grad­ing a few oth­ers were dis­cussed at the com­mit­tee meet­ing held at city hall, with a rec­om­men­da­tion to the coun­cil to ap­prove the changes. New lo­ca­tions in­cluded the in­ter­sec­tions of Crow­der Av­enue and Arkansas High­way 12 and SWEPCO Road, the in­ter­sec­tions of SWEPCO Road at Bloom­field and Duck­worth Streets. Up­grades were sug­gested for im­proved light­ing at the in­ter­sec­tions of Arkansas High­way 59 and East Main Street, Third Street and Collins Av­enue, and Arkansas 59 and N. Parks Cir­cle. The to­tal monthly cost to the city was es­ti­mated at $83.67. The coun­cil ap­proved the new and im­proved light­ing on Mon­day.

Also dis­cussed was the pos­si­bil­ity of a city or­di­nance pro­hibit­ing the use of engine brakes within city lim­its. It was sug­gested that an or­di­nance pro­hibit­ing the brak­ing de­vices be passed on three sep­a­rate read­ings to make sure the pub­lic has the op­por­tu­nity to com­ment on the pro­posed change be­fore it be­comes law.

A speed-limit change on Gen­try Boule­vard (Arkansas High­way 59) through the city was dis­cussed with a rec­om­men­da­tion to lower the speed limit to 45 mph on the north edge of Gen­try and to 40 mph from just north of Main Street to the lo­ca­tion of Adams Truss. Since it is a state high­way, the coun­cil can re­quest the change, but the Arkansas High­way and Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment would have to make the change. The coun­cil, on Mon­day, voted to re­quest the change.

Also dis­cussed was pro­posed streets on which golf carts could be op­er­ated in Gen­try if the coun­cil au­tho­rizes their op­er­a­tion within the city. Any coun­cil ac­tion would not au­tho­rize the use of such ve­hi­cles on state high­ways or county roads. In ma­te­ri­als pre­sented to the com­mit­tees by Kevin John­ston, Gen­try’s mayor, a min­i­mum age for op­er­a­tors at 16 or 18 was sug­gested,

along with a one-time per­mit fee which in­cluded a manda­tory train­ing ses­sion on the use of golf carts within the city. The pos­si­bil­ity of re­vok­ing the per­mit for vi­o­la­tors was also dis­cussed.

John­ston said the cur­rent state law needed some clar­i­fi­ca­tion to al­low golf carts to cross state high­ways or county roads. Cur­rent law does not al­low the ve­hi­cles on state high­ways at all, pre­sum­ably mak­ing it il­le­gal to even cross a state high­way in a golf cart.

John­ston told the com­mit­tee mem­bers that the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency was rec­om­mend­ing re­pair rather than re­place­ment of the bridge across Flint Creek on Dawn Hill Road. He said the bridge is still good, but new sup­ports need to be built to raise it up and make it se­cure. Though an es­ti­mate for re­place­ment (not in­clud­ing dirt work) was $700,000, John­ston said he hadn’t yet re­ceived a FEMA es­ti­mate for re­pair.

FEMA will re­im­burse the city 75 per­cent of costs for re­pair and will in­clude an­other 50 per­cent of that amount for work done to pre­vent a re­cur­rence of dam­age from flood­ing, John­ston said. He said, af­ter ad­ver­tis­ing and re­ceiv­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions, the city will be choos­ing a list of pro­fes­sion­als for the work at its Oc­to­ber meet­ing. Af­ter a pro­fes­sional is con­tracted, a re­pair plan can be pre­pared and the work put out to bid.

Though the bridge will re­main closed for sev­eral more months, John­ston is hop­ing the end re­sult will be a re­pair which will not need to be re­peated each time the creek floods.

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