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Marion gets grant for Military Road expansion project

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ARDOT puts $250,000 in city coffers for road widening

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Marion has been awarded a $250,000 grant from Arkansas Department of Transportation to add sidewalks and bike lanes to Military Road when the state widens the roadway.

The state is planning to widen Military to three lanes from the intersection of I-55 to the railroad tracks where roadway meets Highway 77.

The plans will incorporate Marion’s request to add a landscaped raised median, turn lanes at the side roads, decorative lighting and landscaping to make it a more aesthetically pleasing boulevard.

Mayor Frank Fogleman said he was pleased that the city received the grant.

Although Marion was going to pay for the additional enhancements at their expense, the sidewalks and bike paths were not in the state’s plans and would have had to be added at the city’s expense.

“Without the grant, we might not have had sidewalks and bicycle trails,” Fogleman said.

Fogleman said he has not received an update about when the state plans to begin the project.

“We don’t know when it is going to be,” Fogleman said. “They had forecast it for march of this year.

They may put the project out to bid in the summer of 2020.”

In other business:

• Fogleman told the City Council that he is waiting to hear back from Paragould about a price for a used walk-behind garbage truck. The City also has the option of buying a used truck from Riverside for $110,000.

“It’s either $110,000 from Riverside or unless Paragould says they only want $90,000. Then maybe we talk,” Fogleman said.

Marion has had maintenance issues with its automated garbage truck.

Road Department manager Gordon Floyd said workers have been picking up 900 cans a day on average using the walk-behind garbage truck compared to about 600 cans a day with the automated truck.

Floyd said he would provide the Council with the maintenance records on the automated garbage truck and would get a quote on a new truck after Councilman Kelly O’Neal requested one.

• The City Council agreed to renew its membership and legal coverage insurance with the Arkansas Municipal League for $28,000.

• The Council agreed to pay $11,730 for Marion’s share to cover the salary of the District Court judge’s salary.

• Fogleman reported that according to the September financial report from Treasurer David Rikard, sales tax collections for the month was better than budget by 16.4 percent, and that year-to-date sales tax collections were better than budget by 5.5 percent. General Fund revenue for the month was worse than budget by about $107,000, while General Fund expenditure were better than budget by about $92,000,

• Building Inspector Jerry Kelley reported that there were six new homes built in September, zero commercial permits, and 32 miscellaneous permits issued. Year-to-date, there have been 29 new home permits issues, six commercial permits, and 32 miscellaneous permits.

• Councilman Kelly O’Neal, who chairs the police and fire committee, reported that Building Inspector Jerry Kelly has submitted buildings plans for the committee to look over for a new Fire Station No. 1. “Jerry is doing a fine job going over the plans,” O’Neal said. “We have a price and he is going to continue to look them over and smooth out the price.”

Jerry Kelley also reported that half of the brick work has been completed at Fire Station No. and that the renovations are progressing well. “I feel like we will be finished with Fire Station No. 2 by the end of the year or maybe mid-January,” Kelley said.

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