Light Pole Falls in Gravette During Weekend Storm, Concerns Raised Over Park Safety

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GRAVETTE, Ark. (KFTA) — A light pole that fell during severe winds last Friday night in Gravette has many questioning the safety of one of its parks.

The City of Gravette says the light pole that fell over near Pop Allum park on Friday is not one that has been described by many as rotten.

But it has some wondering if other poles in the park should be replaced, too.

Jack Hunter says his 6-year-old and 11-year-old play sports on these fields.

“What would have happened if that came down during a baseball game? Hit a kid, it’s right there in the parking lot, laying on someones vehicle. It’s a huge liability, it’s a huge safety risk,” Hunter said. “We have quite a few poles on the baseball field that are deteriorating. It’s been a know issue for several years.”

According to the City, all of the lights poles were inspected in the early fall after a light pole fell from strong winds.

The inspector said a few poles should be replaced in the near future.

Empire electric was hired to order and install the poles, but they have not yet come in.

The mayor’s office released this statement: 

“In early fall 2018, a strong storm blew down one of the baseball light poles at Pop Allum Park. At that time, the parks department superintendent and building inspector inspected all the light poles and identified a few that the inspector thought should be replaced in the near future.

We reached out to a few contractors to begin the process of obtaining quotes. We received the first bid on October 18, 2018, and a few more after that. We decided to proceed with the low bid from Empire Electric (our local electric company) to set the poles and the agreement for installation of the poles was signed November 5, 2018. At this time, we are still awaiting installation of the poles from Empire.

On Monday, December 3, 2018, Empire informed us that the poles have been ordered but have not yet been received. Like many, we wish this process would move faster, but we started several months ago making all the necessary contacts to ensure that the light poles were not only fixed but fixed in a way that was fiscally responsible. At no time did the light poles appear to be an immediate danger to guests of the park. The City has received no formal complaints about the poles. The poles have been monitored by the parks department and the building inspector to ensure that they continue to remain safe while we await replacement. The light pole that fell during the severe winds on Friday is not one that has been lamented by many as ‘rotten.’

Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with and caused damage throughout the town on Friday, resulting in downed fences, broken and leaning stop signs, roof damage, and more.

The park is currently winterized and there are no scheduled games until next spring. We look forward to the completion of this project and think the new poles and lights will make evening baseball games even better!”

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