To start off this week’s meeting, Mayor Caleb Norris gave a department report on projects his office is overseeing. There are a number of projects in the city at the moment, so I’ll go through the list and recap the items he mentioned.
The new roundabout for White Oak Crossing and Country Club Parkway has completed all engineering and design work. Currently the city is in the process of right of way acquisition and construction will hopefully begin by the end of the year.
The All-Inclusive Playground (to be located next to the splash pad) has had $300,000 in funding approved by the council. The city has applied for a $250,000 grant from the state which will allow us to fully fund and build the new playground. We should hear this Fall on whether the city was awarded the grant.
Construction on Crystal Hill Road is largely complete from Counts Massie westward to Maumelle Boulevard. Additionally, the council approved widening the sidewalk on a portion of this roadway from 8 feet to 12 feet to accommodate the Central Arkansas Greenway that will run along this roadway as it enters Maumelle.
The city is currently doing a study and design work on a redeveloped Club Manor corridor which would take the current 4 lanes down to 2 while adding a dedicated pedestrian pathway through downtown. This area would also become a part of the Central Arkansas Greenway. A new sidewalk would also join Club Manor to Lake Willastein providing easier flow for pedestrian traffic.
Gateway Park, to be located at the site of the old fire station and courts facility, has been discussed with a steering committee involving residents and city staff. They will soon be gathering additional input from residents on what amenities we would like to see at this new park.
A master Bike / Pedestrian Plan is currently in development for the city of Maumelle. A focus group of 15 residents will be doing intense work on this plan during the week of October 17-21.
New pedestrian crossing systems have been ordered for all crosswalks along North and South Odom. These new crossings will make our trail system much safer since it will allow for safer crossing of a busy street.
The mayor proposed a potential new trailhead park for the Central Arkansas Greenway to be located at city-owned, vacant property in front of Maumelle Center on the Lake on Club Manor. This site would serve as an entry-point to our trail system as well as provide overflow parking for Center on the Lake. More to come on this as the idea is further developed and presented to the council.
Pickleball Courts! The city is currently looking at different options for building new pickleball courts. The preferred idea at this point is to locate them on the south side of the Community Center next to Maumelle Charter Elementary.
Moving on to our regular council agenda, the first item of business was the approval of Phase 1 and 2 for Cypress Bend at Maumelle Crossing. This project had already been approved for phase 1, but they came back and asked for the full project to be approved so they could continue development. This passed 5-3.
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The council heard the second reading of an ordinance that would change the land use and zoning of a property in our city. This small parcel is currently zoned Industrial and they are asking for it to be changed to Commercial so it can be merged with a larger neighboring commercial parcel.
In new business, the council approved using money from our street fund to pay for right-of-way acquisition in order to build the new roundabout at White Oak Crossing and CC Pkwy. This was approved by a 7-1 vote.
Also in new business, the council heard a proposal to change the zoning and land use of a parcel of property on the north side of town that was annexed into the city last year along Hwy 365. When the property owner annexed into the city last year, they requested it be zoned as R-1 (Residential) based on advice provided by city staff. Since then, a residential development project has been proposed that would require a different zoning and land use since they want to build a mixture of single-family housing to include a mixture of townhomes. This project is currently working its way through the planning commission so more details will be finalized later this month. The development would leave extensive green space of almost one third of the entire property. The developer is also planning an extensive pedestrian trail system to include a mountain bike course in an old rock quarry on the property.
The next item on the agenda was an ordinance that would tweak our planning regulations to require site plan review for Commercial projects in our city. Currently, site plan review is required in pretty much all other zoning districts, so this simply adds Commercial to the review process.
As I mentioned earlier from the Mayor’s department report, the council approved using $12,000 from our street fund to change the design for Crystal Hill Road improvements and widen the sidewalk from 8 to 12 feet in an area between Park on the River and Maumelle Boulevard. This change was necessitated by the Central Arkansas Greenway coming through Maumelle and we wanted to have a pathway that would be wider and allow for easier pedestrian traffic flow. This was approved by a 7-1 vote.
The last item on the agenda was a resolution allowing the mayor to enter into an agreement with a national cooperative procurement organization. These types of agreements are common in cities so we can utilize these procurement groups to provide us with better pricing on goods and services. This was approved 7-1.
That’s all for the council agenda this week. The planning commission will be discussing several new projects in our city at their regular meeting this month and many of those will find their way to the council agenda in October. The planning commission will meet Thursday, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know! Thanks, Chad 501-529-1336, firstname.lastname@example.org