The Crossett City Council is faced with the decision of repairing or replacing an oft-used recreational structure damaged by a falling tree during Hurricane Laura.
The decision will ultimately hinge on the council members viewing the damage to the structure and coming to a consensus afterward.
Crossett received damage in several different areas following the hurricane, which swept through the area in September. The Crossett City Park received noticeable damage and has a number of downed trees, including one that uprooted and fell through the pavilion that is nearest the Lucas Pond boat ramp.
Parks and Recreation Director Larry Cantley told the city council on Monday night that a contractor had looked at the damage and reported to him that it would most likely have to be torn down.
Cantley also said that to rebuild the pavilion would be expensive because it was not a cheaply made structure.
Councilman Dale Martinie agreed that the pavilion in question was a very well-built structure with great craftsmanship, and said that because of that he believed that if the city could salvage it, they should.
The council discussed the location of the pavilion and vandalism that had happened in the area in previous months, some of which some members believed was in part because of the location of the structure.
Cantley said in previous years the pavilion’s brick fire place had been a hot topic because the fire place gave a lot of privacy to the structure, which he said is the reason some thought it was subject to more vandalism than some of the other park structures.
The council also discussed how the pavilion was built using grant funding and even though it was more than 30 years ago, Mayor Crystal Marshall said there could still be some sort of stipulations that the city agreed to when they accepted the grant funding. She said, however, that she had checked with Crossett’s grant writer and made sure that the city would not be violating any agreement should they choose to tear the structure down.
The council ultimately decided to each go and view the structure themselves and report back to the mayor by Friday.
Additionally, the mayor said she and the deputy clerk, Lisa Gulledge, would be working with the insurance company to find out more details on the policy and what the city’s options are.
The pavilion is insured, and Gulledge said the deductible on the policy is $2,500.
Marshall also reported to the council that there was damage to the Youth Center roof on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. However, she said that an adjuster had looked at it and that the city had received around $2,000 to repair the roof. Marshall said there was a $10,000 deductible on the policy and so that the city was hoping to find someone who could do the repairs for less than the adjuster quoted.
Marshall told the council that approximately 25 large trees that fell into or otherwise had to be removed by the city in various areas. She also said that the city workers had picked up more than 300 loads of limbs from residents. The city’s pickup system had been running behind because of the large volume of limbs, she said, but they are finally starting to catch back up.
In other news:
-Tena Carter spoke to the council about renovating the city municipal building on Main Street. Carter said that she had spoke with the council before, but had been tied up in a renovation project in Hope that took nearly four years, but she was now ready to work on doing similar work with the Main Street building. Carter got permission to have her crews cleanup the outside of the building and pressure wash it to make it look better in the mean time. Carter said she plans to work with the city to obtain grant funding to remodel the building into something usable.
-The council approved a request from Cantley and some of former Mayor Scott McCormick’s family members to shorten the new name of the Crossett Sports Complex. The council voted to name the complex the Mayor Marshall Scott McCormick Sports Complex, but his family spoke and said they believed he would have wanted it to just say, “Scott McCormick.”
“He didn’t want to be called ‘Mayor McCormick’, he wanted to be called Scott,” said Stacey Johnson, the late mayor’s sister. Cantley — who knew the mayor and worked with him for years — seconded that opinion and said the mayor was a simple man who liked simple things, and he believed that the name change would suit him.
Cantley also asked the council permission to begin looking at signs both for the complex and road signs leading up to it.