The Batesville City Council’s meeting Monday night featured a busy agenda.
The council heard an update from Ted Hall, director of the White River Area Agency on Aging where he recognized Batesville Fire Chief Brent Gleghorn and the Batesville Fire Department for its help with the Christmas Brings Hope program. The fire department delivers the food and gifts collected for the Christmas charity.
Hall also thanked the mayor and city council for the new community center and aquatics park. He said the center and pools were a great benefit to senior citizens. He was also complimentary about the Christmas light displays and the Christmas parade.
“Keep on doing what you’re doing,” Hall told the council.
Ted Hall with the White River Area Agency on Aging addresses the Batesville City Council / Image by Bob Qualls
Hall also spoke briefly about what the White River Area Agency on Aging does. He said many elderly people have an “isolation problem.” They often live alone and have few visitors. The agency’s senior centers and Meals on Wheels program help alleviate the isolation problem.
The council also heard from a representative of The Miracle League.
The Miracle League is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for children with disabilities to play baseball. Peggy McCall, executive director of Miracle League of Arkansas, told the council and Mayor Rick Elumbaugh about the program at its meeting Monday.
After a short video showing some of the disabled youngsters playing baseball, often with the help of volunteer “buddies.” They “run” the bases in wheelchairs, with walkers, and other devices for the handicapped. They play on a field free of barriers on a surface made of recycled tires.
The league has a ball field in Little Rock and one in Springdale. McCall noted the organization would like to come to Batesville. All it needs is a donation of land on which to build the playing field. She said the organization could raise money to build the field with the special surface.
Batesville Parks Director Jeff Owens was asked if the league could use one of the city’s T-ball fields. He said he and McCall had talked about it, but that the need for the special surface to replace the regular turf used for T-ball made it impractical. He said he was still looking for a solution.
The council approved a motion to proceed with working with The Miracle League to find property that could be used. McCall said they would accept a donation of land from private individuals as well.
In other matters, the council approved a resolution to lease/purchase two residential garbage trucks. The agreement is with Bancorpsouth Equipment Finance, a division of Bancorpsouth Bank.
The council also approved a resolution to submit an application to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for a community development project. The grant would be used for improvements to the Batesville Preschool Complex at the Central Campus.
The preschool and Early Learning Center will be moving to the Central campus after the elementary school is relocated to other schools in the district.
On a related matter, the council approved a resolution authorizing the mayor and city clerk to enter into an agreement with the White River Planning and Development District to provide administrative services to the city in connection with the grant application.
The council also approved a resolution proclaiming the city a Purple Heart City. Earlier this month, the Independence County Quorum Court approved a similar proclamation to become a Purple Heart County. The designation honors those veterans who have been wounded while serving the country.
Reporting by Bob Qualls