Curious about their future, an estimated 50 Shadow Lake residents were on hand last Thursday at City Hall as Greenwood’s annexation committee weighed the pros and cons of expanding north toward the future Interstate 49.
"There’s going to be a big push to move out to I-49 for all cities," Planning Director Sonny Bell told the crowd. "That’s part of the big picture. We want to be out there at the I-49. We want to be able to take advantage of that."
According to the city, it began providing water and sewer service to Shadow Lake residents in 1975. The meeting minutes from the time state the "property will be annexed into the city of Greenwood within the foreseeable future."
Meeting minutes from 1994 and 1995 indicate that Shadow Lake’s property owners’ association approached the city about annexation, then gathered enough signatures for a petition following one failed attempt.
In March 1996, according to meeting minutes, the city was accused of "dragging their feet to keep Shadow Lake from coming into the city." From there, the annexation plans fizzled.
The renewed interest is part of a larger plan to explore annexation on all sides of Greenwood, which has a population of about 9,000.
"It’s important for you to understand that the annexation committee is not a decision-making body," committee chairman Robert McKinney told the crowd. "We’ll make a recommendation based on the facts that we’ve been able to determine."
If the committee favors annexation of the 130-home community, it will make that recommendation to the Planning Commission, which in turn would make its own recommendation to the City Council. Ultimately, a vote of both Greenwood and Shadow Lake residents would be required.
"If it goes up for election, all the registered voters within the area affected would be able to vote, plus all the voters of Greenwood," McKinney said. "The votes are combined."
During a public forum at the end of the two-plus hour meeting, residents wanted to know how the city would benefit from taking over their community.
"I think it’s easy enough to say that as the city grows, it’s a benefit," committee member Steve Ratterree said. "There’s no question that as our census grows, our opportunity grows to grow the revenue, as well. But with the growing of the revenue, we also provide more and more services."
The benefits of becoming part of Greenwood were also laid out. Among those points were an improved fire insurance rating, primary fire and police protection and cheaper water service.
The millage rate for Shadow Lake residents, at 47.20 now, would increase to 52.20, City Councilman Craig Hamilton said. He estimated the annual difference on property taxes for a $200,000 home at $200.
City leaders also addressed a rumor that Greenwood wants to "take" the lake, which belongs to the homeowners’ association.
"I can assure you the Parks Department’s crew of three, counting myself, are not looking for any further areas to maintain at this time," Parks Director Doug Kinslow said.
Street Department Director Joe Manes said Shadow Lake streets would require "minimal maintenance because the roads are in such good shape." Water is provided to Shadow Lake by the city for 25 percent more than Greenwood residents. The current water line system has "deficiencies," according to Water Distribution Director Tim Posey.
The committee will continue the Shadow Lake discussion at its monthly meeting in late August.
"One of the purposes of the committee is identifying questions and gaps in our knowledge," McKinney said. "We’ll meet next month to talk about those issues."
The annexation committee was created this spring.
Committee members first considered annexation of land on either side of Arkansas 96 between the city and Fort Chaffee. That area was ruled out because of the amount of roads to maintain, the need for police coverage, little potential for commercial growth and resistance from residents.