Construction on a new section of the Tucker Creek Walking/Bike Trail could start in three weeks.

The Conway City Council approved the lowest of seven bids submitted for the contract Tuesday night, giving F. P. Bevins Construction Co. the green light to begin construction at a cost of $340,000.

The new section will run from Prince Street to Gatling Park, following the course of Tucker Creek.

An Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department trails grant will pick up $155,000 of this cost, with the remainder covered through the $1.5 million trails portion of the $14 million parks improvement bond issue.

City Engineer Ronnie Hall told the council F. P. Bevins Construction was ready to get started and could have the trail addition complete by the end of the year. When questioned by Alderman Theodore Jones Jr. about the quality of the planned trail given that the low bid was considerably less than the higher bids, Hall said the company has handled several developments in Conway and seems to do good work.

A third installment will connect the existing portion, which runs along Tucker Creek from the Dave Ward Drive Walmart to Salem Road a few blocks south of College Avenue, to Prince Street. This installment will have to wait until a planned round of sewer infrastructure improvements can be completed in the area, Mayor Tab Townsell told the council.

In other business, the council voted to approve design concepts from Sowell and Russel Architects for the new fairgrounds.

The 2010 Holiday Festival of Light, organized by the Faulkner County Quality of Life Council, will again be held at Centennial Park off Dave Ward Drive in southwest Conway, the council also decided. The festival has been held there for the last three years, and the three-year agreement with the city to do so had expired. For the 2011 festival, however, the council voted to use the new fairgrounds.

$12,500 in general fund revenue will be allocated to the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County to start a transportation service to bring students from all Conway elementary and intermediate schools and Conway high School East to the Boys and Girls Club facility. Robert D. Wright, the local Boys and Girls Club chief professional officer, explained to the council that this funding will cover fuel, driver pay and half of the insurance for a pair of 15-passenger busses to be provided through the club’s partnership with Independent Living Services.

The council also accepted $4,300 in funds donated to the Conway Fire Department from what is described in the ordinance as local corporate donors "including but not limited to Fred’s, All Clean, and Walmart."

In other business the council approved:

• Resolutions requesting the Faulkner County Tax Collector to place certified liens on certain properties as a result of incurred expenses by the city;

• The low bid of $15,983 from Ag-Pro for a 2009 flex wing rotary cutter for the Sanitation Department and an ordinance appropriating funds for the purchase;

• A bid of $ 8,535 from Capital Business Machines for a copier/scanner/fax/printer for District Court and an ordinance appropriating funds for expenses related to District Court automation;

• And an ordinance waiving bids to purchase replacement fire hose for the Conway Fire Department.