Van Buren City Council members will consider contributing $40,000 for a proposed intermodal port project on the Arkansas River in Van Buren during their meeting Monday night.
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. in the city council room of the Municipal Complex.
If the project is approved, Van Buren will be the final of five bodies to approve the contribution to help pay for a $200,050 contract with John Vickerman of Virginia-based Vickerman & Associates.
Vickerman, who has worked as consultant on 67 of the 90 North American deep water ports, would be tasked with finding an entity that would design, build, pay for and potentially operate a slackwater port in Van Buren.
Fort Smith and the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority were the first to approve their part of the contribution, followed by Sebastian and Crawford counties, both of which approved it on Feb. 21.
While answering questions from justices of the peace during Crawford County Quorum Court on Tuesday, County Judge Dennis Gilstrap called the chance to hire Vickerman “an opportunity we can’t pass by.”
“I was looking at this thing too small,” Gilstrap said. “I was looking at local investors to build a port out there, (but) we don’t have what it takes to develop that.”
If approved by all five bodies, the study is expected to take up to nine months to complete. Vickerman provided a project production schedule that ends with him requesting expressions of interest for a port developer.
Also at the CCQC meeting, JPs approved a resolution put forward by JP Jayson Peppas proclaiming Crawford as a Purple Heart County in honor of Purple Heart Medal recipients.
The Purple Heart is awarded to U.S armed forces members who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.
Crawford County’s resolution states that “citizens of our county have received the Purple Heart Medal as a result of being wounded or killed while engaged in combat with an enemy force … (and) Crawford County seeks to remember, recognize and honor veterans who are recipients.”
Also approved was an ordinance authorizing contracts with companies owned by two JPs - Rentco, owned by David Rofkahr, and Turf Pro USA and Pest Pro USA, owned by JP Raymond Harvey.
By law, the CCQC must approve contracts with private businesses owned by county officials or employees.