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— Blackhawk pride...Tradition relocated.

Along with the new campaign catch phrase on the board, a partial model of the new Blackhawk stadium sat on the table at Tuesday night's meeting. Tim Duffy constructed the model with intentions to unveil the design to the community at the first home football game Friday, Sept. 11.

Pea Ridge school superintendent Mike Van Dyke was one of 11 in attendance, and decided it better to wait and get School Board approval on the model first.

The concept model should be ready to be seen at the game against Shiloh, Friday, Oct. 2.

Duffy explained the purpose is to give the community a picture of what the group envisioned in order to get interest and begin raising money.

The group agreed to form a steering committee for guidance in the phases of the entire project. They hope the committee will consist of community business leaders and parents, "so we can move forward, and be going in the same direction," Joshua Ramsey, committee member, said.

"Going to a steering committee is absolutely the best bet. People from the community are going to want to know what is going on, it's a good way to communicate it," Van Dyke said.

The group discussed the issue of concerned households in the Standing Oaks development

Lance Sanders, president of Standing Oaks' POA, said they were not going to try to get involved.

"We have 136 homes in our development, and only 20-30 concerned property owners. If more than half of the homeowners were against having a football stadium built there, we would have to get involved," Sanders said.

"It's not going to be an issue as far as I know right now," Joel Easterling said.

Financing the project was once again a point of discussion in the meeting. Van Dyke was asked if he knew of options to get the school further involved, asked if a gym full of parents asking "how can we pay for this?" would change anything. The school board has allotted $500,000 from the building fund to go towards the construction of the stadium. But this money will not be available until the rest of the money is there.

"(The legislature) has become tougher on specifications for academic buildings. Unfortunately, a few people have abused that," he said, speaking of the possible 60 percent the state might cover in the construction of new academic facilities.

Millage increases were also ruled out, as Pea Ridge already has the highest in Benton and Washington counties at 44.2 mils.

"I don't think right now I would encourage my board. It would be really difficult," Van Dyke said.

So far, a checking account has been opened at Arvest Bank through the Pea Ridge Booster Club. Interested people can make donations there. The next meeting date was not set.

Community, Pages 6 on 09/09/2009

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