A splash pad at a city park, which has been discussed for more than a year and was originally supposed to be built this year and then next year, has been killed by the Paris City Council.
Paris City Council members made the decision during one of two special meetings held last week.
Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers said the City Council nixed applying for a Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department grant to help pay for construction of the splash pad because they feared the impact to electrical department revenues by the announced December closure of the American Axle and Manufacturing plant in Paris, which was built in the 1960s to house Cloyes Gear.
“During the meeting, they wanted to know how much money the city would lose on electrical billing if AAM isn’t buying electricity,” Rogers said. “It’s $313,000 a year. That’s a big hit to our general fund because $1 million of electrical billing receipts goes to our General Fund each year. So, they decided not to apply for a grant to build the splash pad.
“They thought we needed to be very cautious about spending money next year, given that AAM is closing,” Roger said.
A grant to build the splash pad or a basketball court at Wood Street Park was issued last year. Rogers decided to build a basketball court and hold off on the splash pad until next year. The court is now under construction at Wood Street Park. The grant requires a match by the city. The city’s portion of the project would cost $150,000.
“We had two new appointees to the parks commission and they did’t want the splash pad built next to the city swimming pool and wanted to move it to Wood Street Park,” Rogers said. “The guy that was gong to build it wasn’t going to get it finsihed by Labor Day, so I decided to do it next year and get the basketball court in.”
Rogers also said he was planning to ask an engineering firm to take a look at the city’s recreational needs and make recommendations.
“I plan on having plenty of conversations with the public on this subject,” Rogers said. “We can still apply for a grant to build a splash pad later.”
At another special meeting, held right before the meeting on the splash pad, members of the City Council adopted an ordinance allowing a conventionally built home to be moved into the city and placed on property that has an R-1 zoning designation. This ordinance had been originally placed before the City Council on Monday, Aug. 6.