The Greenwood City Council has called a study session for Thursday at 6 pm at City Hall. The council will be looking two major issues facing the city; animal control and the possibility of a new municipal park.
Greenwood had a system in place for dealing with stray dogs that quickly fell apart once the Sebastian County Humane Society started their transition to a “no kill shelter” back in May. Since that time the shelter has been cramped for space and there has not been a place for dogs that are picked up in Greenwood.
At the August Council meeting Greenwood Animal Control Officer Jarrod Ricketts stated that as of July 14 the SCHS has refused to take any more animals from Greenwood. Currently the city has no shelter to take dogs to and has only a temporary holding space with local veterinarian Matthew Singer. Mayor Doug Kinslow stated that has spoken to the Director of the SCHS, Joseph Sprague, and that he explained to the mayor that the ban on Greenwood dogs was a misunderstanding, that they were simply out of room at the time and that if Greenwood will call ahead of time he will do his best to make space for the dogs in the future. The council has asked Kinslow, Ricketts and Police Chief Will Dawson to come up with a long term solution and present it at the September Council Meeting. Currently the city will not respond to a stray dog call unless it is vicious. Animal Control received 42 calls for stray animals in July of which only four were picked up.
Mayor Doug Kinslow met with the Parks Commission and discussed the possibility of constructing a municipal park on the east side of Greenwood. “It is a big project with a big price tag,” said Kinslow. “And this is just an idea. Nothing has been hammered down or approved. Council has given me their blessing to move forward and investigate.”
Kinslow first brought the idea to members of the council at a study session in early June.
The meeting was just a study session, no votes were taken and no binding decisions were made.
Kinslow stated that he has been in talks with the owners of a 96 acre tract that lies between Alpha Packaging and Old Chismville Rd. concerning potential sports park and the owners have proposed a deal with the city to give over 40-50 acres of land in exchange for infrastructure on the remainder of the property.
The landowners have the property platted for a new housing addition, but the platt has yet to be presented to the city council for approval. The mayor stated that there were 100 homes planned for the area but that the landowner only plans to build about half as many as originally platted.
The mayor envisions the sports complex to have nine or ten baseball fields, two soccer fields and a building that will house a basketball arena and after school activities. After completion the project will be leased to the South Sebastian County Boys and Girls Club, who will run and maintain the facility.
The current Boys and Girls, which is located off of hwy. 71, sits on 30 acres and is nearly out of room to grow.
In the plan that the mayor laid out the city would “swap” with the Boys and Girls Club giving them a new home for their current property on the highway which the city could sell to a potential business such as a hotel or restaurant.
Kinslow stated that after he met with the landowners he immediately contacted the city’s attorney, Mike Hamby, to ensure that the city could trade services for land. Hamby assured the mayor that such a deal is indeed legal and that the city does assist people all the time in return of easements.
Kenny Sunde Director the Boys and Girls said in the meeting that he has met with his board and that they are in favor of the idea. “We had a meeting where we went over everything,” said Sunde. “And the board is 100% behind it. I have been out there for 12 years and every mayor has approached us but no mayor has ever had a solution on how we can move.”
Sunde stated that he has heard proposals of moving the club in stages from other administrations, but that it is impractical to do so. “We have 1500 members,” said Sunde. “We can’t do things in stages.”
“This all has merit,” said alderman Daniel McDaniel. “I think that it is worth discussing.” We have more questions than answers at this point.”
The Girls and Boys club currently owes $115,000 on their property on hwy. 71, a debit that the city would inherit it the trade takes place.