At their regular meeting held on April 20, the De Queen City Council approved the expenditure of $2,500 to train new lifeguards that will work at the city’s pool this summer. 

Mayor Jeff Brown said that training the 14 lifeguards will cost $150 a piece with room in the budget in case someone gets hurt. 

Brown said that Callie Miller will train the lifeguards but won’t work for the pool this summer and that the pool will not have a manager this year but rather a city employee will be paid their regular wages.

The council approved the expenditure 5-0, with Alderman Jason Lofton absent. 

By the same vote, the council approved a resolution to apply for and utilize federal aid for the Transportation Alternatives Program fund. The funds are available at an 80 percent federal participation and 20 percent local match to develop or improve Ninth Street sidewalks. The city plans to build sidewalks from Coulter Ave. to the school district administration building. Students currently must walk in the road when accessing the street.

The city previously used grant money from the same source to develop sidewalks on Coulter Ave. from Ninth Street to the high school, but were unable to qualify for the grant last year. This year they hope to be more successful. If approved, the city will be reimbursed for project costs. Brown said that if the city wins approval, the project wouldn’t begin until next year. 

The city council also approved a resolution to accept a bid of $448,140 from RJR Enterprises, Inc., to build a splash pad at Herman Dierks Park. Brown said that, after extensive advertising, RJR submitted the only bid received by the city. He said the city is also expected to spend $20,000 to get water and sewer to the project as well as $28,300 for engineering costs for a total of $497,000. 

“We're going to have to have a sign built for it, going to have to have a fence around it, we’re going to have to get into our own pockets to get this thing completed,” Brown said. “...I felt like if we had to put $50,000 to get the thing completed with $480,000 donated, I don’t see that as too bad of a deal for us.”

Brown said that construction costs have been going up by the day recently, and that to go out for other bids might end up costing the city even more. 

In February, the city received a $480,000 donation from Pilgrim’s to build the splash pad. Brown said that with the earlier approval by the council to put in new playground equipment at Herman Dierks Park, and with the new splash pad going in, “this is something big cities would be proud of, it’s going to be nice.”

The council approved the bid by a 5-0 vote with Alderman Lofton absent. 

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