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Mountain Home City Council returns to session after holiday break

The Mountain Home City Council is finally back in session after returning from a holiday break.

Council members enjoyed a light session on Thursday which saw the vote to place David King on the city’s planning commission following the retirement of commission member Linda Bodenhamer.  

The council also voted to place J.R. Martin on the city’s cemetery commission after the passing of commission member Jim Bradley.

During the meeting, Mayor Hillrey Adams also provided the council with an update on the Coulter Celebration of Lights. The Christmas light celebration is currently in season two for planning under the leadership of Arkansas State University’s Mollie Morgan.

The celebration saw more than 7,500 cars drive through its gates over the holiday season while raising more than $37,000 towards scholarships and next year’s celebration. The Coulter Celebration of Lights is looking to expand next year by adding new attractions like ferris wheels and skating rinks.

The mayor said he would be asking the council for a donation to the celebration in the coming months.

“We’re already making plans right now for season two,” said Mayor Hillrey Adams. “We want to grow it and make it more of a festival-type event out of it. We want an area where you can get out and walk. You know, go get selfies made, go sit in Santa’s lap.”

The Coulter Celebration of Lights isn’t the only thing getting ready to be expanded. Members from the Arkansas State Parks and Recreation Association will visit with Mountain Home officials over the upgrades coming to Hickory Park this year.

Adams said if greenlit, work on the park would begin.

The city is preparing to install an all-inclusive playground at Hickory park after receiving a $255,000 grant from the state’s Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism.

The playground will provide children of all abilities and needs a place to play with their friends and families. The grant requires the city to match its $250,000 for the full development of the park. Hickory Park is the second park to receive new funding in Mountain Home. The Clysta Willett Park received a $95,000 grant for upgrades in 2019.

New features for Hickory Park will include a wheelchair-accessible jungle gym, modified see-saws, music station, swings, and more. 

The city will also install new barrier-free restrooms and a barrier-free parking lot. The park’s baseball field will be revamped to accommodate children with special needs. New terraced amphitheater-style seating will also be built on the hill below the playground facing the park’s Farmers and Merchants Banks Stage. 

This year, Keller Park is also getting some upgrades, and its ballparks are currently under construction. The mayor asked residents to stay away from the area until work was complete.

Finally, Adams and the city are asking Mountain Home residents to participate in a survey by the Broadband Development Group on behalf of the Arkansas State Legislative Council.

The Arkansas Legislative Council approved a contract for the Broadband Development Group to create a master plan for broadband development to ensure all residents, regardless of location, have coverage.  Currently, the group is gathering data to assess the state’s needs.

The group will submit a report with their research and recommendations in April.  This report will help guide the state in directing federal funds and assist members of the General Assembly in determining legislation needed to ensure Arkansans have affordable access to high-speed internet in years to come.

The City of Mountain Home is hosting a Community Broad Band Meeting on January 31, 2022, at 5:30 at The Sheid.

To participate in the survey, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/arbroadband or use your smartphone to follow the QR code at the top of the survey page to take the survey online. You can also email the survey to arbroadbandnow@bdg.link.

The Mountain Home City Council will be hosting its next meeting on Feb. 10.

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