City of Bella Vista in 2018
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.
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.
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.
A paving project on Suits Us Drive was completed in May 2018.
Bella Vista’s tactical response team performs an active shooter drill at Cooper Elementary July 2018.
The Bella Vista Fire Department took delivery of a new, special-ordered fire truck in August.
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.
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.
Workers examine Sunset Drive shortly after it collapsed September 2018. The road remains closed.