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Council approves land for fire station

BY GARY EXELBY gexelby@paragoulddailypress.com

The Paragould City Council has unanimously approved the purchase of 13.9 acres of land on Highway 49 North west of Morgan Street and north of Orscheln's to permit building of a new fire station.

The council accepted the recommendation of the Fire Committee to buy the two parcels of land for a total of $335,000 plus closing and other costs.

"You had already approved the purchase of Tract 1 last year," Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill told the council. He noted the 1.87 acres of land in the tract, owned by Joel Grimes with a purchase price of $235,000, would have met the needs of the fire department, but only just. According to Paragould Fire Chief Kevin Lang, the added land would permit the use of drive-through bays for the fire engines.

Although soil samples of the land have taken place, more environmental studies are to be done before construction can take place.

The council also approved the rezoning from Agricultural AG to Residential R-1 of a 44-acre parcel of land in the 3000 block of Pruett's Chapel Road. The rezoned land, owned by Ramona Threlkeld, is to be used for development of a subdivision.

The council also voted by resolution to condemn as a nuisance a 1.45-acre property located at 5900 W. Kingshighway. The land is owned by Gary Messer of Westside Automotive Sales, LLC.

The council heard from Gaskill that during the month of April:

• The Paragould Fire Department had responded to 81 incidents, issued 399 burn permits, inspected 97 businesses and conducted 1,413 training hours.

• The Paragould Police Department completed 1,022 incident reports, made 269 misdemeanor arrests, 45 felony arrests (and opened 68 felony cases). The department also worked 67 traffic accidents, issued 401 traffic citations and made 16 arrests for driving while intoxicated.