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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Walking Trail raises legal concerns

Thursday, March 22, 2012

(Photo)
Cherokee Village Mayor Lloyd Hefley announced on March 15 that the city had been awarded a grant to construct a walking trail. The announcement was bittersweet, as legal issues were brought up by a former alderman.

Hefley thanked Glenn Harris, of Cherokee Village Planning and Zoning, for his work on obtaining the grant. Former Alderman Peter Martin asked if there was a public hearing held as required. Martin noted that proposals for a community center and soccer field had been made in the past.

The mayor said, "I am not going to go through all that. You are never going to please everybody." Hefley did not answer Martin about whether the public meeting had been held to discuss the walking trail.

Martin later addressed the audience at the end of the meeting, despite the mayor telling him, "No," when he came forward to speak in the designated public comments section of the meeting.

Martin said, "You have been talking about making a park up there. Your planning map shows it is zoned industrial, therefore, if we change the zoning to 'recreational area' it has to have a hearing. It did not have a hearing. Therefore, if I go back and find out and tell them, you might lose the funding. All I ask is that you follow the rules set forth. The planning map is on the wall and it is not zoned for a park to be in that area. And you did not have the public hearing. That is why everybody is here, you are having secret meetings, your planning and zoning has been a travesty for the last eight years under your jurisdiction."

Another member of the community then spoke after Martin, suggesting a way to avoid conflicts such as this by appointing members to planning and zoning who do not all live within the city. The suggestion was that city council have those serving on both boards to step down and serve on only one board.

Hefley explained the city ordinance dictates those serving on the board must live within the city. The resident said he felt that should also be considered for a change. The issue was compared to Hardy's successful and non-controversial annexation.

The trail was proposed by Harris in October, and city council gave Harris approval to apply for a grant to fully fund a wheelchair accessible, wildlife walking trail. Alderman Tom Thone voted against the project.

The grant is made available through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. This is a new grant program that is a cooperative effort between the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism's Outdoor Recreation Grants Program.

Projects eligible to be funded by the program are: New trails, renovations of existing trails, extensions or relocations of existing trails with a commitment to open the trails to public use, and are specifically designed to encourage and enhance the ability of the general public to observe wildlife.

Trails funded by this program may be either terrestrial or water trails.

The grant program will spend $1 million on various trails throughout the state, with 80 percent of the money available to cities and counties, and 20 percent being made available for trails at the state level.

Cherokee Village applied for the maximum amount of $100,000 with no match requirements for the city and received over $88,000 for the project.

At the time of Harris' presentation to council, he explained the grant required that the city must own the property for the trail.

The park will be located on 36.82 acres near the Highland Elk's Lodge, and will utilize 30 acres near Hospital Drive. The city will be required to maintain the trail for 10 years.

Harris explained the city will use community service workers for maintenance and upkeep on the paved trail.

Although little mowing will be required because the trail will be located in a wooded area to maintain the wildlife habitat, occasional weed eating, and trash pickup will be required.

The city will also seek the support of local government and civic organizations.

Harris said the Boy Scouts and Master Gardeners would be able to utilize the trail for projects, as well as schools, as it will include an amphitheatre for interpretive programs.

The gated, paved trail will be approximately three quarters of a mile long and will be wheelchair accessible, Harris said at the initial meeting in October.

He also said that some local nursing homes have taken an interest in the proposed project for their residents to enjoy.

The only cost the city will incur will be labor for clearing the trail, which can be done by the city's street department.

It is unclear when the project will begin.


Comments
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Cherokee Village at one time was a great retirement community, then it became a city. Most of this administration has lost or never had the vision that is needed to provide decent, common sense leadership to a small community. Each monthly meeting something new has been dreamed up and discussed without much fore thought. The residents that have concerns for the future of Cherokee Village need to start looking for candidates for the next election. Clean out the offices and start over before it is too late.

-- Posted by southern patriot on Thu, Mar 22, 2012, at 8:57 AM

I agree with patriot 100% now heres my comments!

(1)I think the walking trail is a good Idea,It's the location that floors me!not sceenic area!south fork spring river would be alot better!!

(2)Anyone who has anything to do with CV should live here!

(3)Don't even get me started on lake polution from leaking septic sys.12 in. of yellow foam is not good!or the almost dead eccology of lakes due to improper stocking methods

I've fished our lakes for over 50 yrs and have never seen it this bad eccept when they 1'st started making the lakes.when CV was a retierment community the lakes were well maintained and the fishing was better than exalent!

-- Posted by 00BuckShot on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 11:13 AM

I have never seen so many backroom deals made in city government as there are made in CV! Citizens have no input at all, are hardly ever allowed to speak, and give up showing up for city council meetings because "what's the use"?

There are people on city council who are also on planning & zoning which I consider not a good idea at all! It's haphazard governing at best by people on city council who gossip too much, are too regressive instead of progressive and should, frankly, get the heck out of city government! I used to dislike Mr Martin for his theatrics but do appreciate him holding feet to the fire where it is needed! I agree with southernpatriot also: throw the bums out and get new blood into city government!

-- Posted by rambolady on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 12:29 PM

Happy to see a $88,000 come to Cherokee Village, where its badly needed. The Mayor and Glenn Harris and the council members who helped make this happen, should be given $88,000 worth of credit. Anyone who would cause problems and jepordize this wonderful thing, should stop and think about how they are delivering the message, and find a calmer better way. Whomever is elected to any position is not going to get along with everyone. In this case, I believe the majority is on the side of the Mayor and staff. Running for office to change things is a great idea and if the majority of the people agree with you, and your ideas, then you will have the opportunity to change the village for the better. Instead of fighting and cutting and destroying, we should ALL work together to make Cherokee Village better. Possibly the Mayor and Mr Martin could sit down together and work on whatever problems Mr Martin brings up, and finish with a solution that would help everyone. Maybe, just maybe, the $88,000 will get us better police and fire departments, better roads, better sewage relief, a soccer field,and a community center with a library. Go Mr Mayor==your headed in the right direction FOR THE PEOPLE

-- Posted by Matselboba on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 1:43 PM

Take your child,grand child or great grand child out fishing! It should be A time with O'PA they will never forget as it was with me, unless of course their are " NO" fish!!!

-- Posted by 00BuckShot on Wed, Mar 28, 2012, at 5:00 PM

No dog in the fight Matselboba, just curious. You type:

"Maybe, just maybe, the $88,000 will get us better police and fire departments, better roads, better sewage relief, a soccer field,and a community center with a library."

Yet the very first sentence of the article states this, "Cherokee Village Mayor Lloyd Hefley announced on March 15 that the city had been awarded a grant to construct a walking trail."

Paragraph 10 (ten) reads, "Projects eligible to be funded by the program are: New trails, renovations of existing trails, extensions or relocations of existing trails with a commitment to open the trails to public use, and are specifically designed to encourage and enhance the ability of the general public to observe wildlife."

Now I don't know how the affected area is zoned 'cause I've not seen the map - but if Mr. Martin's assertion that it is zoned "industrial" I can see where there may be some legal issues.

Paragraph nine (9) begins with this: "The grant is made available through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission."

Something to chew on - AGFC is a state organization funded by the taxpayers of the entire state of Arkansas. (There is the unique feature of Arkansas' AGFC I reckon not too many not long-native to the area are aware of - Arkansas' Game & Fish is associated with the Federal, Department of Interior. One must be kinda familiar with the history of Arkansas' Amendment 35 to know "the whys and hows" of just how this unique feature of an ostensibly State organization is associated with a Federal department - but it goes back to the opening months of WWII.)

http://www.agfc.com/enforcement/Document...

As I said at the beginning, I have no dog in the fight. But if you Matselboba, are of the opinion diverting taxpayer funds from Arkansas' Game & Fish to, "... better police and fire departments, better roads, better sewage relief, a soccer field,and a community center with a library."

I'd suggest getting a little (maybe a lot) of legal advice.

-- Posted by HDucker on Thu, Mar 29, 2012, at 2:54 PM

With almost half the homes in the Village for SALE, who is going to be around to actually walk on these trails? The bigger issues is proper promotion of what CV was and still can be?

I think promoting CV as a very, very low cost and affordable place to retire is needed to fill those empty homes. Because CV is made up of individuals from across the country, it has the unique ability to market across the U.S. as a place those on retirement income can actually afford to live!!! Creating a relaxed and enjoyable place to retire, with great outdoor activities, this CV already has, it just needs to be freshened up, updated some and then promoted correctly! With all that said, adding outdoor walking trails, (with grant money) is a smart and attractive addition to any community, green space is good space too.

-- Posted by FOHA on Sun, Apr 1, 2012, at 8:58 AM


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