Broadband, drainage among projects discussed in Walnut Ridge

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 6:55 PM CDT
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WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) - The city of Walnut Ridge is talking upgrades after facing floods that briefly shut roads down in June.

Leaders and residents say Walnut Ridge has struggled with managing floods in the past, and now, the city council is discussing potential projects to fix those issues.

The city is still looking at the best way to use funding from the American Rescue Plan. On Monday, the city council discussed four different projects dealing with drainage.

“We’ve had a problem for decades with [the Main Street/4th Street] intersection getting up high,” Mayor Charles Snapp said.

Snapp said that expansion did come with problems while the downtown area has grown over the past few years.

“Because of extra renovation in the downtown area in recent years, more water moves through there than it used to in a shorter period of time,” Snapp said. “[It’s the] same amount of rain, but it gets there faster.”

The city came up with four separate projects: one downtown, two near Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Walnut Ridge Nursing & Rehab, and one near Walnut Ridge High School.

“These four projects have the possibility of completed of diverting significant stormwater runoff to where we can finally solve or better the problems,” Snapp said.

The council voted to place the projects on a wishlist, a group of potential projects relating to the American Rescue Plan. The city will decide by October which plans they want to go forward with.

“It’s a serious issue in places,” Snapp said. “The American [Rescue] Plan funds can only be used in certain categories... It’s up to us to go ahead and take the steps forward and try to protect the safety of the people passing through town on these highways or in city streets, as well as the residents and the building owners.”

The council also put broadband improvements on their American Rescue Plan list at the meeting Monday night.

The city discussed installing fiber optics throughout the area. Snapp said he would reach out to a law firm regarding issuing a bond to cover the project’s cost. He added the city could get the project done without using funds from the American Rescue Plan.

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