At this week’s meeting, the council started off with a report on the city’s financials through the first two months of the year. While this is only a short period of time, the city’s general fund revenues are ahead of budget by $253,000 and expenses are below budget by $513,000. Our city remains in a strong financial position as we head into 2022 with a balanced budget.
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Under unfinished business, the council heard the third reading of an ordinance that would affect how we regulate the right-of-ways within our city and specifically how we work with utilities and other entities that use our public right-of-ways. This ordinance has been discussed off and on for about six months and at the meeting this week, it was modified once again to include language our city attorney felt better protected the city’s interest when dealing with utilities.
This change pushed the ordinance back to first reading again so it will be on second reading at the first meeting in April.
The council unanimously approved a grading permit which will allow property owners to apply for a grading permit in order to begin land preparation in advance of a building permit being issued. This is another tool that land owners and developers can use in order to get a site ready for construction. This grading permit won’t be used all the time but allows for an alternate method to begin site prep if needed.
Moving to new business, the council heard a presentation from Dave Roberts with Crafton-Tull regarding a study to redesign and improve the Club Manor Corridor.
Club Manor is approximately one mile long and runs directly through Maumelle’s downtown retail corridor. The proposed redesign of Club Manor would convert this road to a 2-lane vehicular roadway rather than the current 4-lane road that is too wide and not needed for the volume of traffic that it handles.
After converting the roadway to 2-lanes for vehicles, a 12-ft sidepath for pedestrian traffic would be added along with a 10-ft median to separate the traffic from the pedestrians. In my opinion, this is an important project for Maumelle.
Metroplan has committed millions of dollars over the next 10 years to build out a regional greenway system for pedestrians throughout central Arkansas. This greenway will run directly through Maumelle and will potentially lead to economic growth similar to what’s been seen along the Razorback Greenway in northwest Arkansas.
By planning ahead for where we want the greenway to run, we’re a step ahead with Metroplan and can shape the design of how this will run through Maumelle. Additionally, by moving the greenway off the boulevard, it will bring cyclists and pedestrians directly through our city and spur retail and restaurant development within this corridor.
This project will also serve to better connect our residential communities to the west of Club Manor and make it easier for pedestrians to access all of the retail areas along Club Manor and the Boulevard. This will be an exciting project for our city and I hope to see it come to fruition soon.
In other exciting news for our city, the council approved $300,000 to be used towards the construction of an All-Inclusive Playground that will go on the site next to our newly completed splash pad. This playground will finish out the Maumelle Play & Splash Park that has been in the works for several years.
While $300,000 is approximately half the funds needed to complete the park, this will allow the city to apply for matching grants through the state that should get us nearer to our final goal of approximately $600,000 for the playground.
There will still be opportunities for local businesses, residents, and civic groups to contribute to this project so stay tuned for donation opportunities.
Finally in new business, the council approved the purchase of street equipment to be used during winter weather events in upcoming years.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. firstname.lastname@example.org, 501-529-1336.