January 8, 2012 by Sonny Hudson
From Mayor Sonny Hudson — As 2011 winds down, we look back at the year and are proud of many accomplishments. The year was a challenge, as extreme cold, record snow falls, record flooding in April and May, and the summer heat, all provided their share of challenges.
In April, the floods significantly impacted many residents and businesses in Prairie Grove. Three City buildings downtown suffered water damage and the bridge on E. Parks Street was seriously damaged. The bridge was re-opened after the County generously assisted with a temporary repair. The city is working with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to replace the bridge, with the Highway department paying 80 percent of the cost. Those repairs should be made beginning after the first of the year.
Flooding along Viney Grove Road, led the city to hire engineers to conduct a drainage study and look at alternatives to help the problem. The engineering is almost complete, and recommendations for construction should be available in early 2012.
In September, the citizens of Prairie Grove again showed their support of the needs of this great community by passing a 0.75 percent sales tax to replace one going off the tax rolls. The new tax will be used to replace old water and sewer lines, make drainage improvements, and pave dirt roads.
In August, the new wastewater treatment plant went on line. This $7.6 million dollar facility will allow Prairie Grove to join other municipalities in NW Arkansas in reducing phosphorous discharges into the Illinois River water shed. The plant replaced an old plant originally constructed in 1969.
Prairie Grove finally closed a deal on a piece of property located across from the Battlefield State Park this year. The city had been negotiating for the property the past few years but finally acquired the land for much less than originally asked for the land. The land provides a future location for a much needed administrative, police, and court complex.
We approach 2012 with much hope. We anticipate higher revenues but will cautiously approach our finances with the goal to set aside money for future projects if money is available. A new administrative building is at the top of our wish list but we realistically expect financing a project of that magnitude may take many years.
We wish all of our wonderful citizens a happy, healthy, and successful New Year.