Terry Robinson, Wooster mayor since 2006, announced last week that he would be seeking re-election for another four-year term.
“We have a lot of infrastructure projects going on right now in Wooster," he said. "I would like to finish what we’ve started. It’s finally all coming together and I would like to see it through."
Since Wooster began getting water from Greers Ferry Lake in 1996, 37 subdivisions have developed in the area that is served by the Wooster Water System, adding many more to the water system. A couple of years ago, the city received a grant to get a second master meter and a new 250,000-gallon elevated tank to add capacity to this overtaxed system. This new connection is expected to go online within the next week.
Larger lines will also be run into Summerhill Place, one of the first subdivisions in the area, and in the Shaw Bridge Road area where other new subdivisions have developed. The Wooster Water System covers an area that is bordered by the Cadron Creek on the south up to Castleberry Road behind Colt’s Quick Draw to the north.
The water system upgrade, as well as the development of a skilled and trained volunteer Fire Department, recently led to a lower fire-rating for the entire area. Homeowners are experiencing a lowering of insurance premiums as a result of these improvements.
Wooster is also just days away from connecting to the Greenbrier sewer system and being able to provide that service. A low-pressure sewer system will serve most of Wooster as well as those people living in between Wooster and Greenbrier who wish to connect to it. The city is paying for this upgrade through saved and budgeted monies and will be doing the work.
“We are trying to manage the city’s money well. We are doing it ourselves. We don’t want to have to borrow from a third party so we budget and plan for these projects,” Robinson said.
Once Wooster gets the city sewer, Mayor Robinson and other city leaders expect to see more requests for commercial development. Businesses will be able to build on smaller tracts of land if they don’t have to allow for septic systems. There has been significant interest in establishing businesses as the traffic has increased in the area.
That increased traffic has also caused Robinson and the Wooster City Council to begin consulting with the Arkansas Department of Transportation regarding the four-way stop in the city. Engineers are drawing up plans for a roundabout to alleviate the backed-up traffic that occurs during rush hour as people commute to jobs. Traffic is extremely heavy around Wooster Elementary and plans are also being made to upgrade and perhaps add roads around that area.
A new water billing system and meter upgrades are also coming soon. The water billing system will allow customers to pay their water bills online. The new meter system will allow the meters to be read from the office and will enable the district to detect leaks almost immediately, preventing high water bills due to undetected leaks.
Robinson was born and raised in Wooster, graduating from Greenbrier High School in 1981. In 1990, he owned a Dean Milk distributorship and then moved into upper-level management with Dean Foods. By 2000, he was involved in the family farm operations full-time.
Since Robinson became part-time mayor in 2006, the job has grown to a full-time position. He not only manages the city’s business but also oversees the expansive water district. Under his leadership, with the great assistance of the council and a planning board, the city has started bringing order to the rapid development of the area.
A planning board, led by Jerry Boyer and now Bob Stubbs, has updated zoning maps and planning codes have been adopted to get the city ready for more anticipated growth. Metroplan is also assisting; Robinson has served on its board for a number of years.
Great strides have been made in other areas in recent years as well. The mayor, the city council and the planning board have budgeted and paid for a tornado siren with plans to add more in the future; a digital city sign; upgraded street lights and the pavement of most city streets.
Robinson said: “I have great praise for the Wooster City Council and the planning board. They are good people to work with and we make a great team; we work well together.”
Partnerships with Faulkner County in recent years resulted in the construction of a new Shaw Bridge. It also allowed the paving of almost all the city streets as well as many of those in Wooster’s planning area. All city streets will be paved after the Church Circle project is completed next year.
And when all that is done?
“I would like to see us get a new city hall,” Robinson said. “We will apply for grants that would allow us to build a safe room on one end with offices and a big conference room on the other end.”
The filing period for municipal and township positions opened on July 27 and runs through Aug. 17.