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Gravette student proposes Halloween parade to council

by Susan Holland | October 3, 2020 at 1:00 a.m.

GRAVETTE — Nadiyah Thornton, a 12-year-old student at Gravette Middle School, spoke to members of the City Council Sept. 24 and proposed a Halloween parade to take the place of traditional Halloween trick or treating.

Thornton suggested having the event on Oct. 31 at 3 p.m.

“I thought this year,we could have a parade. Instead of going house-to-house, people will go on the traditional parade route and collect candy from the parade,” she said. “I think this would be better than trick or treating because everyone won’t be going to all the houses and possibly increasing the spread of covid-19 from person to person. Instead, people can socially distance and still collect their candy.”

Thornton told of her plans to get sponsors to provide candy and donations from citizens and businesses who wish to participate. CDC guidelines such as wearing masks and social distancing would be observed.

Also present to speak to the council was Jody Reding, owner of property at 13358 Old Train Road in Hiwasse, which has been proposed for condemnation. Reding told council members he had responded to the letter sent him by building inspector David Keck and made the suggested changes on the property. When asked by Mayor Kurt Maddox why it had taken so long for him to do any work at the site, he said he has been living in Tulsa, Okla., but wants to return to the area and live on the property.

He told Maddox he thought he could make the house livable in two months, but council member James Brown said the house was in such poor shape he did not think that was possible. He said the house should be torn down and a new one built because there were too many code violations in the structure.

Maddox suggested Reding contact Fire Chief David Orr and see if the Fire Department would cooperate in burning the structure as a training exercise. Maddox told him if the council decided to condemn the structure, it would be up to him to make the necessary improvements within the requested time frame and, if he did not do so, the city would be forced to clean up the property and place a lien on the owner’s tax bill to pay for the cleanup.

Both Maddox and Brown assured Reding they would prefer he do the cleanup himself and the city would not have to get involved.

An open public hearing was held preceding the council meeting to discuss condemnation of the Old Train Road property. Since Reding had already made his presentation and no one else was present to comment on the issue, the hearing was immediately closed.

In business conducted at the meeting, council members passed an ordinance regulating the stopping, standing and parking of vehicles within the city and providing a penalty for violation of the same.

Council members also adopted four resolutions. The first declared the Old Train Road property a nuisance and condemned the unsafe structures on the property. The second established the property tax levy on both real and personal property at 4.75 mills on each dollar of assessed value.

Other resolutions established fees for mobile food vendors at Centennial Park and authorized several budget adjustments for the 2020 budget. The food vendor resolution permits up to three food trucks to operate at Centennial Park. All vendors must submit a mobile food vendor application and pay the application fee. They must provide their own trash cans and pay rent of $150 a month or $6 a day for intermittent use. Failure to pay rent by the 10th day of the month will result in the assessment of a 10% late fee.

Carl Rabey, city finance director, reported there had been no change in the monthly financial statement since the Sept. 10 committee of the whole meeting.

Susan Holland may be reached by email at sholland@nwadg.com .

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