Seligman continues progress on multiple city projects

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

City discussing sidewalks, lagoon repair, recreation, streets

The city of Seligman is working on several projects to update and improve the city's infrastructure and recreation opportunities.

Hutchens Construction Company is planning to build a new asphalt plant south of town, which Mayor Garry Thornton said he welcomes for the potential to bring new industry and jobs to the area.

According to Thornton and Hutchens' president Phil Hutchens, future growth is expected along the Seligman-Arkansas border, and the city welcomes that growth.

Hutchens said in a previous statement that he anticipated growth to occur south of Barry County and north of Benton County from northwest Arkansas. So, just south of the Seligman area would be the natural choice for an asphalt plant.

Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin on the plant this summer, Hutchens said. A rock quarry will also eventually be built on the same property in approximately three to four years.

Cleta Stanley, treasurer for the Seligman Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is happy to see the plant come to the area and hopes it will bring jobs.

The city is considering purchasing new vehicles for the maintenance department.

"We discussed buying a couple of new vehicles for the department, and possibly new playground equipment for the walking path we built last year, but it's still in the discussion phase," Thornton said. "We finished the walking path and are getting ready to discuss what to do about exercise equipment off DD Highway."

The city is in the early stages of seeking a grant that would help fund sidewalks along a portion of Main Street.

"We had discussed doing a sidewalk grant with MoDOT to get funding to go down Main Street as far as they would go," Thornton said. "We talked about it in December, and we're waiting on MoDOT to open it up."

David Mitchell, MoDOT senior communications specialist for the southwest region, confirmed that the city had considered applying for a federal TAP (Transportation Alternative Program).

Thornton said many people walk along Main Street so the sidewalks would provide a great benefit to residents.

"It would definitely help out with giving people a place to walk," he said. "Main Street is a pretty busy street and the speed limit is 35 mph."

Thornton said the city may also have to talk to property owners for permission to put sidewalks in.

Necessary lagoon upgrades have been an ongoing issue the city has continuously worked on, and Thornton sai the city has been making progress.

"We did come to a decision to upgrade the pump and motor at the lagoon, and the engineers are working on the blueprints for the irrigation system," he said.

According to Thornton, the city is consulting with Olson Engineering, and a bid was accepted from JCI Industries Inc., which is based in Rogers, Ark., for the pump and motor.

Sean Robertson, JCI sales engineer, said the city has purchased some submersible pumps from the company, and has discussed the potential purchase of a new generator.

"The system is aging," Thornton said. "It was built to last 20 years, and we are at that 20-year mark It's time for an update. If our city gets much bigger, our current equipment won't be able to handle it. We're looking at a possible population growth and want to be able to handle that without the burden of that cost hitting us then. If we take care of it now, we'll be prepared."

Thornton said the money was there to make the needed repairs and resolve the issue.

Also on the list are street repairs in town.

"We've discussed repaving some roads that need attention and rehabbing and sealing manholes so they don't leak," Thornton said.

The city is in the process of talking to contractors and discussing pricing.

Another project, aiming to improve the city's water system, is ongoing, and the city is considering its options to renovate the system.

In other action, the city decided to cease funding the Lafayette House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence located in Joplin, because it was not being utilized. Officials initially thought it would be a helpful resource as there is no local shelter, but the distance was creating a challenge.

"We decided to stop sending funding because it's something we've paid into and it never gets utilized," Thornton said. "When we've recommended it, people don't make it up there. That's why we decided to do away with a $2 fee we send to them. A portion of our tickets for citations would go to them. We [just] weren't utilizing the facility, so we didn't see a need to pay for a service we're not using."

In the meantime, if a resident feels that they need the house as a resource, the center will still be there if needed.

"If a victim of a domestic has a way to get there, they can still go there and utilize it," he said. "Even though we're not contributing anymore, they can still go there. It's just so far away that people can't make it up there."

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