Dog park fund­ing ap­proved, Ash­ley im­prove­ments get OK

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By Sarah Perry [email protected]­ton­

Af­ter sev­eral discussion­s, the Bryant City Coun­cil ap­proved the use of $550,000 for im­prove­ments to two parks, in­clud­ing the con­struc­tion of a new dog park.

An­i­mal Control Di­rec­tor Tricia Pow­ers said the Bryant dog park project has been in the works for six years and that she is ex­cited about the new ad­di­tion.

In a post on the Bryant Bark Park Project Face­book page, a rep­re­sen­ta­tives thanked the Bryant Parks and Recre­ation De­part­ment, Mayor Allen Scott, the coun­cil and the team of volunteers.

“Our work is not quite done just yet ... but I look for­ward to see­ing all of you at the leash cutting cer­e­mony,” ac­cord­ing to the post.

The new park will be un­der the Bryant Parks and Recre­ation De­part­ment um­brella, but Pow­ers will ad­vise the de­part­ment on rules and reg­u­la­tions, she said.

Along with the con­struc­tion of the new dog park, fund­ing will also be used to com­plete the first phase of im­prove­ments to Ash­ley Park.

Be­cause of the high de­mand for

base­ball prac­tice ar­eas, the Parks De­part­ment would like to make Ash­ley Park a “pre­mier base­ball prac­tice fa­cil­ity,” said Keith Cox, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of recre­ation, in a previous meet­ing.

Pro­posed changes to this park in­clude ren­o­vat­ing fields with new fenc­ing and lights, the ad­di­tion of play­ground equip­ment and an in­door prac­tice fa­cil­ity that can be con­verted to an in­door prac­tice field or bat­ting cages.

The play­ground could be used by res­i­dents liv­ing in the area or by sib­lings of ath­letes prac­tic­ing.

The $550,000 in fund­ing in­cludes $300,000 from gen­eral fund sav­ings and $250,000 from un­used bond fund­ing, ac­cord­ing to Fi­nance Di­rec­tor Joy Black.

“This is a re­ally good first step,” said Parks Di­rec­tor Chris Treat. “We’re happy with this start.”

He noted that the de­part­ment plans to start the dog park con­struc­tion this sum­mer.

“I know there are a lot of other things we can use this money for ... since we have been fo­cus­ing on the heart of Bryant, the heart of Bryant is right here with these ball fields,” said Al­der­man R.J. Hawk. “This is great.”

The coun­cil dis­cussed im­prove­ments for two in­ter­sec­tions as well. City of­fi­cials are plan­ning to meet with Ar­kan­sas De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion of­fi­cials about adding a left turn­ing lane on Springhill Road for driv­ers af­ter they have gone over the over­pass.

The es­ti­mated cost for the project is $87,000.

Later in the meet­ing, the coun­cil voted to add an item to the agenda re­gard­ing im­prove­ments to the in­ter­sec­tion of Reynolds and Hill Farm roads. A sig­nal has been pro­posed at the in­ter­sec­tion as well.

Be­cause city of­fi­cials would like to com­plete the project be­fore the start of the 2019-20 school year, the coun­cil ap­proved a re­quest by city em­ploy­ees to waive the bid process.

Pub­lic Works Con­struc­tion and Project Man­ager Ted Tay­lor told the coun­cil he would still get two quotes for the projects. The es­ti­mated cost is be­tween $70,000 and $90,000.

Af­ter a dis­cus­sion last month about a new yard waste pilot pro­gram, Mark Grim­mett, di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Works, pre­sented some writ­ten in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the pro­gram to the coun­cil.

This pro­gram will be dis­cussed again in de­tail dur­ing an up­com­ing work­shop.

Other ap­proved items in­clude:

•A re­quest by Grim­mett to auc­tion un­needed equip­ment.

•The 2019 March year-to­date fi­nan­cial re­port.

•An or­di­nance au­tho­riz­ing city em­ploy­ees to de­stroy un­needed city records.

•Amend­ment’s to the city’s rules and reg­u­la­tions for the Bryant Fire De­part­ment to in­clude a new en­gi­neer po­si­tion.

•Job descriptio­n and com­pen­sa­tion plans for plan­ner and ac­counts payable tech­ni­cian po­si­tions.

•2019 Bryant Bar­racu­das pro­gram agree­ments.

All meet­ings are open to the pub­lic and at­ten­dance is en­cour­aged.

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