City & County

State of the City: ’22 project setbacks due to supply chain issues, construction delays

By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian

While city leaders in Arkadelphia were optimistic that 2022 would be a year of completing several major projects, it turned out to be 12 “somewhat frustrating” months as projects were delayed by supply chain issues, construction firms and change orders.

This is what City Manager Gary Brinkley told the Board of Directors on Tuesday as he presented his annual State of the City report. Only 75% of the Caddo/27th Street drainage project has been finished; erecting restrooms at Feaster Park was postponed because of cost projection overruns; the first phase of Feaster Trail’s rehabilitation is incomplete; drainage projects at Haddock and Henderson streets is unfinished; a street slurry sealing was pushed into 2023; and several city departments remain understaffed because of a low unemployment rate, Brinkley said.

But there’s good news: “All these projects and more will be done in 2023,” Brinkley said, adding that facility and equipment maintenance “has never been better as we have the resources to accomplish these tasks.” Further, the new North Ridge Estates subdivision should add more housing to the city, and the opening of several new businesses like a meat market keep city officials optimistic about the city’s economic climate.

Brinkley went on to highlight 2022’s accomplishments.

The police department added a third resource officer so that each school campus will have a dedicated armed officer. Two patrol vehicles were purchased in 2022, and a consolidated 911 operation with Clark County is still under way.

Firefighters responded to 871 incidents in 2022 — an increase of 200 calls compared to the previous year. The influx, Brinkley pointed out, was because the Arkadelphia Fire Department now responds to more medical emergencies. The city has ordered a new $957,272 fire truck, which is expected to arrive this spring. At Fire Station 1, on Caddo Street, a concrete slab and driveway, as well as a privacy fence with an automatic gate opener, was added.

The water department completed its extension of water and wastewater utilities to tie into the Gum Springs super site owned by the Economic Development Corp. of Clark County. The 16th Street water tower was repainted and stabilized. The department spent much of 2022 working with the Arkansas Department of Transportation on planning the relocation of utility lines along Pine Street and the Arkadelphia Bypass/10th Street extension.

The city’s sanitation department replaced a front load truck, which was totaled in an accident, and purchased a used hauler for transportation of solid waste to the landfill in Saline County. Also, 30 new Dumpsters were purchased with total replacement planned.

The street department continued replacing signs in the downtown area. The department laid 1.1 miles of hot mix asphalt to city streets and applied crack seal to .875 miles of roadway. Replacement of traffic control devices continued in the southeastern portion of the city.

Membership at the city’s recreation center increased by more than 42%, or 1,532 new memberships compared to 2021. The parks and recreation department received a $200,000 grant to improve Feaster Trail between 10th and 26th streets.

Although admissions at the aquatic park were down 3.27%, or 573 visitors, compared to 2021, improvements were made to the facility, including new bathroom floors, refurbished slides and towers, and replacement of all exterior lights.

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