GENTRY, Ark. (KNWA) — On Tuesday (September 10) voters in Gentry will decide on a $15 million bond issue in a special election.
The money would come from an increase in the town’s sales and use tax approved in November 2018 and would go toward improving the park system.
Mayor Kevin Johnston said this could give Gentry an edge over neighboring cities.
“To be able to compete for those we want to call our new neighbors, we need to be able to provide park amenities and things that attract them and make them feel like they’re at home,” Johnston said.
Johnston said the plan would cost around $12 – $14 million and would include things like sports fields, trail improvements, and a splash pad. This would be covered by the $15 million, but the city would start with $5 million since that’s what it can currently afford based on the revenues it’s collecting.
Gentry voter, Frances Long said she supports the project.
“I think it’s going to be a great thing for our town and the surrounding towns,” Long said. “I have so many great-grandchildren that come to visit and they like to go to the park.”
Wes Hogue said he’s against the project, but not because he doesn’t want the park. He feels there are more important issues the city needs to focus on, including fixing a washed-out bridge that serves as an access point to a local school.
“On a health and safety issue, this administration has shown a lack of ability to administer the project. If they’re asking us to allow them to administer more money, what’s their record?” Hogue said. “The record looks very poor on health and safety issues even though parks and recreations is a lower category than that. I’m opposed to it.”
Mayor Johnston said if voters don’t approve the bond issue, the city will pay for improvements as it goes, which could take up to one hundred years.
Voting takes place Tuesday, September 10 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Gentry, located at 232 West Main Street.