City & County

Directors hear plea to change Pine Street’s name

By Jamal Brown
Special to The Arkadelphian

The Arkadelphia City Board of Directors heard from two local residents Tuesday regarding the renaming of Pine Street in honor of Civil Rights Activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Doug Nelson, longtime supporter of the measure, stated he had recently attended a National Day of Prayer event in which individuals from across the state voiced their concerns for their respective communities.

“My concern is the naming of MLK Boulevard,” said Nelson.

According to Nelson, in 2010 the Arkadelphia City Board of Directors voted 4-2 in support of renaming Pine Street in honor of Dr. King. Shortly after the measure was taken, Nelson said the resurrection of city Ordinance No. 155 reversed the board’s decision.

Since his last meeting with the board, Nelson said he and other supporters have examined and studied Ordinance No. 155 to try to determine the reason why the board did not uphold the 2010 vote to rename Pine Street in honor of Dr. King.

“After studying that ordinance we found out that the ordinance didn’t really refer to developing districts,” Nelson said.

Nelson issued a challenge to the present board to take a closer look at the ordinance and to do “what’s right.”

“What was messed up, tangled up, and tied up in 2010 it is time to fix it. I hope that this present board will look at it and see that there is very much a need in naming the street,” Nelson said.

During the board’s public forum held after their regular meeting, Dave Collins addressed the board.

Collins also raised concerns regarding Ordinance No. 155, which clearly states the criteria to name a street that is newly constructed or extended.

“It (the ordinance) does not state how to change a street name, nor does it give the criteria to change a street name,” Collins said.

Collins believes that if Ordinance No. 155 was used as the reason to rescind the board’s decision in July 2010 then “that was a wrong that was done.”

Collins asked the board how could the rescinding of the board’s vote in 2010 be justified if the ordinance, which was the cited reason for the rescinding of the vote, is what was used.

He also asked what could be done to rectify the situation, if there was a misinterpretation on the part of the city board of Ordinance No. 155 in 2010.

Ward 2 Director Chris Porter said the board would have to get together to review and process the information and make a decision at that point.

Ward 1 Director Taylor Chaney said the board could get with City Attorney Ed McCorkle to gain clarity on the ordinance.

Collins is expected to visit with McCorkle to get an interpretation of the ordinance in question.

Other items addressed:

• Directors had the second reading of an ordinance to vacate Butler Street and the second reading of an ordinance to vacate Cass Street.

• A resolution was approved for an ArDot Grant for improvements along Feaster Trail.

• Directors entertained the first reading of an ordinance to redistrict the city’s wards. The wards as proposed meet the percentage differentials between the wards and align with the JP Districts.

• A contract was approved with Seale Construction Co. Inc., not to exceed $650,000, for the terminal construction project at the Arkadelphia Airport. 

• City Manager Gary Brinkley provided an update regarding plans to remove the buildings, stand and fencing at Sturgis Field. According to Brinkley, the field has not been used regularly for approximately three years. He noted disintegrated fences, dilapidated buildings, and sink holes in the field as reasons to permanently close the field.

. It was noted that the fees for tackle football will be increasing for the first time since 2012. Fees are going from $80 to $125.