The Conway City Council signed off Tuesday night on tree and planter guidelines that were one of the last things to be ironed out by the city in its plan to expand a "new urbanism" city planning philosophy beyond downtown.
The design guidelines will be implemented in the next few months as the CVS pharmacy, MedExpress and the Arvest Bank redevelop property at Oak and Harkrider, further east on Oak by Layla’s Gyros and at Factory and Oak, respectively. As the cost of building the much wider sidewalks and tree planters will fall on developers, these businesses have been called "trend setters" in a long-range plan to have the tree-lined, wide sidewalks on Oak all the way from downtown to Ingram Street and on Harkrider from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church to Hendrix College.
With the city’s design guidelines in place, approval from Conway Corp and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department remains before the design guidelines can be implemented. Councilman David Grimes said that he’d like to see Conway Corp use the redevelopments and their additional utility right-of-way to install more underground power lines.
Tyler Winningham, the city’s financial officer, reported that the general fund, which is stretched thin after a few years of "flat" sales tax, is holding about the same course. Sales tax revenue is about half of a percent down for the first 6 months of 2014 compared to the first 6 months of 2013, which continues to leave the general fund with "no room for anything fancy or expansive," Mayor Tab Townsell said.
In other business, the council approved:
• Requests the Faulkner County Tax Collector place to place certified liens on certain properties as a result of incurred expenses by the City (cleanup/mowing at Duncan and Millwood street properties). No property owner was present to speak to the liens.
• A resolution expressing the willingness of the City of Conway to partner with the AHTD for the project on Dave Ward Drive I-40 to East German Lane (associated with the Sam’s Club development).
• A resolution expressing the willingness of the City to partner with the AHTD for the project I-40/Hwy 64 traffic operations improvements.
• Awarding the Bids for a 20, 30, & 40 yard Hook Lift Roll-off containers for the Conway Sanitation Department to N.E.O. FAB, the low bidder at $41,900 to be paid out of the city’s sanitation fund, which is separate from the general fund.