Conway City Council members voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with The Village at Hendrix on Tuesday regulating the design and materials for a fire staging area.

City engineering specifications required a 20-foot wide hard-surface apron around the plaza area of The Village at Hendrix to serve as a staging area to accommodate emergency vehicles responding to a fire or other emergencies located at the western end of the Market Square. 

Scott Schallhorn, Hendrix College vice president and general counsel, told members of the council the staging area was necessary due to narrow street designs at the village.  

"The streets are narrower and in a fairly compact area," Schallhorn said. "This allows a wider stretch to provide access (for emergency vehicles) and a staging spot." 

Schallhorn said The Village originally sought to fulfill the requirement of a hard surface apron but tried to make the area more "aesthetically pleasing" by using grass pavers atop nine inches of crushed stone base. 

"We were trying to make it look nice," Schallhorn said. "We tried to make that staging area look better than a concrete strip." 

City officials said the original surface area had been tested by the fire department and was found unsuitable to support the stabilizers on a ladder truck.  

As per the agreement, The Village will next test a new hard surface for the staging area, constructing a test patch using pavers with small depressions allowing topsoil to be placed and grass to be sprigged on the surface. The pavers will then be installed on top of the existing crushed stone base. 

Scallhorn said if the new surface area is tested and found to be unsatisfactory, The Village will install the original concrete strip. 

"Either the pavers or the concrete strip will be completed by the end of August," Schallhorn said.  

See Thursday’s edition for more details.

(Staff writer Megan Reynolds can be reached by e-mail at megan.reynolds@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net)