Lepanto Council discusses parks and drug dog
Park issues and the drug dog were the major points of discussion during this month's Lepanto City Council meeting.
Mayor Dale Dunlap informed the council that the park on the south side of town is being left in bad shape by groups that use it, and he suggested the city require a $100 deposit from groups who want to use the park. The deposit would be refunded afterward so long as the park was left cleaned up and in good shape. The council seemed to agree requiring a deposit would be a good idea. The city attorney will have to draw up an ordinance for the council to vote on before it could go into effect.
The Ladies Fire Department Auxiliary and the Parks Commission are working to get a handicap-accessible playground put in at the sports complex. Earnie Hill told the council of the groups' plans. He said the Ladies Auxiliary plans to raise money for the playground equipment through fundraisers, grants, and donations. The Ladies Auxiliary want to do all the fundraising themselves at no cost to the city. They would only need the city to sign off on some of the grants to indicate that the grant money will be designated for the park. Hill said the group is only applying for 100 percent grants, not matching grants, so the city would not have to put up any money. Additionally, anyone who donates will have their name included on a sign on the fence that will surround the playground.
Hill said the biggest thing about this playground is the equipment will all be handicap accessible. The Ladies Auxiliary contacted the group that designed playground equipment at the Miracle League Park and Craighead Forest Park in Jonesboro. The total for the equipment for the Lepanto playground will come to around $86,000. The plan is for the playground to be at the southwest corner of the sports complex near the walking track, so parents could walk while their children play. "They wanted to let the city know what they're trying to do to hit this goal," Hill said. "They want to give the kids something to do that's not outdated."
Anyone interested in donating for the playground should contact Amy at 870-375-0799 or Casey at 870-974-0333.
Mayor Dunlap also brought up the prospect of retiring the city's K-9, Cardi. Police Chief Chad Henderson said he and the mayor had talked several times about the dog's cost and worth to the city. Henderson said Cardi is seven years old and still a great dog, but the mayor said the issue is that Cardi's current handler, Kevin Tucker, has a lawn service in the summer, which takes the dog out of service. Alderman Sarah Case pointed out she had questioned the expense of the dog a few months ago, and Mayor Dunlap admitted that drug dogs are not worth the expense for small towns. The council discussed several options from retiring the dog to letting Tucker keep the dog as long he lets the city use it when needed.
When asked if there was any reason to decide during this month's meeting, Dunlap said that at the time it was put on the agenda, they thought Tucker might be leaving the police department, but that was no longer the case. Ultimately, the council tabled discussion on retiring the dog.