Members of the Van Buren City Council gave the go-ahead Monday night for new sidewalks along Rena Road.
Aldermen voted 6-0 to accept the bid of $234,100 from N.E.C. Inc. of Rogers upon the recommendation of Hawkins-Weir Engineers Inc. of Van Buren.
“The competition was heavy,” Engineer Larry Yancey told the council. “Nine bids were received.”
Yancey said N.E.C. Inc. has done similar work for cities and Northwest Arkansas.
“All seem to be pleased with their work,” he said.
Mayor Bob Freeman said the sidewalk project will be financed by an 80 percent grant from the Federal-aid Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). The TAP funds, which are granted by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, will require a 20 percent city match.
“The city will pay upfront and will be reimbursed 80 percent when the sidewalk project is complete,” Freeman said.
Yancey said work should begin within two to three weeks.
The council also voted 6-0 to approve a resolution to seek TAP funds for a streetscape project in downtown Van Buren.
Planning Director Joe Hurst said the streetscape project will add more walk-ability and aesthetic green space to downtown Van Buren. He said the city can go up to a $625,000 project, and contribute $125,000, or 20 percent, toward the project with the rest covered by the highway department.
Freeman said the city has been working with Van Buren Original “bump-outs, some softening of the streets” and some landscaping in front of businesses.
“This streetscape will be a more permanent change,” he said.
Hurst pointed out there is less federal funding available this year, $4 million, than in 2016 when $16 million was available.
“I’m still hopeful. I think we have a really good plan,” Hurst said. “We’ve had so many good outreach efforts, and we have a lot of people involved, so I think we’re going to put together a good application, just kind of see where the cards fall.”
The council also voted 6-0 to:
• Award a Glock 22 Generation 4 .40-caliber pistol to Cpl. Mark House, who will retire May 1 after more than 15 years service to the Van Buren Police Department.
• Set a public hearing for the May 15 city council meeting on abandoning a Walnut Street public right-of-way in the Mountain View Addition.
• Rezone 425, 501, 505, 506 and 510 N. 26th St. from Residential 2 to Commercial 2.
• Approved street closings requested by the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department for the Pioneer Day Parade on May 27, First Baptist Church for Vacation Bible School on June 5-9 and Center for Art and Education for a 5K race event on June 10.