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— Michael Ogburn is the new chairman of the Pea Ridge Parks Commission.

Appointed by the mayor the preceding week at a meeting with Mayor Jackie Crabtree and fellow commission member Bill Ryan, Ogburn chaired the regular monthly meeting Thursday in the mayor's office.

Also in attendance was former chairman Tracy Messer, who voiced her resignation as she moved out of the city several weeks ago.

Joseph Carlson, a potential commission member, was present.

The Parks Commission oversees the design and maintenance of the city's parks properties. For several years, the commission ran the Mule Jump which is now being organized by a community group.

Discussion centered on what the agenda for the commission should be and how to bring the city park up to legal codes required for handicap accessible facilities.

"Getting it up to codes, bathrooms, handicapped accessible ..." Ogburn said of the immediate needs for the commission.

"We need to know the revenue stream for the parks," Ryan said, "before setting priorities."

Crabtree told the commission members there was anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 available in impact fees specifically designated for parks. He also said the income from this year's Mule Jump will be dedicated to the parks.

"It would be great to put it (revenue from the Mule Jump) in a community center, but that's too far away," Crabtree said.

Messer added that, when she was chairman, she had sought a bid for paving the walking trail at the city park from a construction firm in Washburn, Mo., but had not received any numbers. She said the money is there for that project.

Also discussed was adding playground equipment, which has become extremely expensive. Ryan said there is limited space at city park for playground equipment without major dirt work because the level ground on the south side of the park is used for ball fields, something that "appears to be important to the public."

Other potential sites for ball fields was discussed, but no conclusion was reached.

"Ball is number one in this community," Messer said.

Crabtree said work at the Givens Subdivision park is "coming along well" as the fence is in place and equipment has been installed.

News, Pages 1 on 08/26/2009

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