City of Bella Vista in 2018

The Weekly Vista - - Front Page - KEITH BRYANT [email protected]

Bella Vista had a big year and there was plenty to keep the city busy.

In Jan­uary, for­mer Bella Vista Po­lice De­part­ment de­tec­tive Clay­ton Roberts was ar­rested and charged with seven counts each of con­trolled sub­stances fraud­u­lent prac­tices and tam­per­ing with phys­i­cal ev­i­dence. He pled not guilty in May and was sen­tenced to 60 days in Ben­ton County Jail af­ter plead­ing guilty in Oc­to­ber to steal­ing med­i­ca­tion from the de­part­ment’s drug take-back bin.

In March, a paving project — in­clud­ing drainage im­prove­ments — con­cluded on Suits Us Drive.

Also in March, the Bella Vista

Fire De­part­ment hired Scott Cran­ford as divi­sion chief over train­ing.

In May, the Bella Vista Po­lice De­part­ment col­lab­o­rated with the Pea Ridge Po­lice De­part­ment to per­form a stan­dard SWAT class and build the de­part­ment’s new tac­ti­cal re­sponse unit. Po­lice Chief James Graves said the unit is an ex­cel­lent as­set for emer­gency re­sponse as well as serv­ing no-knock war­rants.

In July, the Ra­zor­back Green­way fi­nally reached Bella Vista with a nearly 1-mile-long sec­tion bring­ing the trail from Lake Bella Vista to Blow­ing Springs.

Near the end of July, the for­mer stump dump along­side Trafal­gar Road caught fire. The un­der­ground fire con­tin­ues to burn and emit smoke, which has fu­eled com­plaints from res­i­dents while of­fi­cials look for a so­lu­tion.

In Au­gust, the Bella Vista Fire De­part­ment re­ceived its Pierce Class A cus­tom pumper, which was pur­chased nearly a year prior and priced at $464,346 with a pre-pur­chase dis­count, mean­ing the city saved a lit­tle more than $22,000 by pay­ing for the truck up­front be­fore it was built.

Li­brary di­rec­tor Roxie Wright re­signed in Au­gust, cit­ing pres­sure from mayor Peter Christie. Wright re­quested to be re­in­stated, say­ing she be­lieved most li­brary work­ers were happy with her man­age­ment. Suzanne Adams was hired to Wright’s for­mer po­si­tion in Oc­to­ber.

Septem­ber saw the ground­break­ing for the 11 Un­der trails, an in­con­struc­tion net­work in the cen­tral por­tion of the city that is ex­pected to be be­tween 40 and 50 miles long once fin­ished.

An­other, less de­sired ground­break­ing oc­curred when a por­tion of Sun­set Drive slid into an ad­ja­cent con­struc­tion site in Septem­ber. Mayor Peter Christie said geotech­ni­cal en­gi­neers and con­trac­tors are work­ing to find the best way to fix the road.

In Novem­ber the city elec­tion mostly came to a close. Mayor Peter Christie and city coun­cil mem­ber John Flynn were both re-elected, while city coun­cil Ward 2, Po­si­tion 2, and Ward 3, Po­si­tion 2, seats went to a runoff. Larry Wilms was elected in Ward 2, Po­si­tion 2, and Steven Bourke won the runoff in Ward 3, Po­si­tion 2.

In De­cem­ber, con­struc­tion be­gan on Spanker Bridge. The project is to re­move and re­place the bridge with a longer one that will al­low greater wa­ter flow and is ex­pected to wrap up in May.

Ad­di­tion­ally, a fed­eral $25 mil­lion grant was awarded to com­plete the 4.8-mile sec­tion of what will be­come In­ter­state 49, con­nect­ing Pineville, Mo., to what is cur­rently Arkansas High­way 549, bet­ter known as the Bella Vista By­pass.

Photo cour­tesy of the city of Bella Vista

Tom Jud­son, left in the front row and hold­ing a shovel, hefts some dirt along­side NWA Trail­blaz­ers di­rec­tor Erin Rush­ing, Mayor Peter Christie and Wal­ton Fam­ily Foun­da­tion pro­gram of­fi­cer Gary Ver­non while of­fi­cials, trail builders, trail ad­vo­cates and en­thu­si­asts stand be­hind them at the 11 Un­der ground­break­ing Septem­ber 2018.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

A bike pa­rade ended shortly af­ter this freshly con­structed bridge near the Veter­ans Wall of Honor af­ter the July rib­bon cut­ting for a new stretch of green­way that reaches into Bella Vista.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

A paving project on Suits Us Drive was com­pleted in May 2018.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

Bella Vista’s tac­ti­cal re­sponse team per­forms an ac­tive shooter drill at Cooper Ele­men­tary July 2018.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

The Bella Vista Fire De­part­ment took de­liv­ery of a new, spe­cial-or­dered fire truck in Au­gust.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

Con­struc­tion be­gan on what will be­come the north­bound lanes of the Bella Vista By­pass, which is cur­rently open from Rocky Dell Hol­low Road to Wal­ton Boule­vard.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

A for­mer stump dump site off Trafal­gar Road caught fire at the end of July 2018. The un­der­ground fire burned for the rest of the year and of­fi­cials are still work­ing to ad­dress the is­sue.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

Work­ers ex­am­ine Sun­set Drive shortly af­ter it col­lapsed Septem­ber 2018. The road re­mains closed.

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