Conway

The Conway City Council approved the allocation of over $300,000 to the city’s Overnight Emergency Shelter in a unanimous vote at the City of Conway Council Chambers on Tuesday night.

The funds, made available due to leftover unused funds from Conway’s 2019 Community Development Block Grant Action Plan, will be used for any costs associated with the completion of the shelter moving forward, per the ordinance.

Council members also voted unanimously to approve bids for plastic piping for the city’s transportation department and construction for part of the city’s ongoing Markham Square project. The Markham Square Project – a plan to reimagine the city square as a park with bike lanes, sidewalks and new trees – involves a construction bid that the city council voted to approve on Tuesday night. The accepted bid, worth over $1.5 million, puts the city in contract with Crow Group, a construction firm based in Central Arkansas.

City Planning and Development Director James Walden also presented a proposal to finish work on a planning grant to fund the beginning stages of the city’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant.

After much discussion about the pace at which Walden and city staff will have to work to turn in their grant proposal by its July 1 deadline, city council members decided against making a grant proposal for the planning process, instead allowing Walden and city staff to complete planning themselves. A second grant proposal – one which will explain the project, and if approved, cover the construction costs related to RAISE grant work – will be due sometime in the summer of 2022, Walden said.

In a final piece of city news, the council approved a donation the Conway Police Department received from Arvest to purchase a new K-9 dog. The previous K-9 dog, who retired recently, will be replaced by a new one with the donation which totals at $10,000.

In some light news from Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Bart Castleberry recognized the accomplishments of two local Conway figures. The first, Conway Public Schools Superintendent Greg Murry, is retiring this summer and the mayor gave Murry his best wishes.

“We appreciate the job he has done in Conway and we hate to see [him] go,” the mayor said.

The mayor also recognized city COVID-19 Officer Ty “COVID Cowboy” Ledbetter for his work helping Conway respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The mayor declared May 11, 2021, as Ty Ledbetter Appreciation Day.

Staff Writer Kolton Rutherford can be reached at krutherford@thecabin.net.

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