Leader Blues

Monday, July 16, 2007

TOP STORY >>Council may vote to buy Armory land

By JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

Cabot Mayor Eddie Joe Williams has struck a deal with a development company for 15.5 acres to build a National Guard armory and will ask the city council Monday evening to approve the purchase.

At almost $26,000 an acre the land inside the industrial park on Highway 367 is less expensive than the $30,000 per acre the mayor said he expected to pay.

Ordinarily, such a purchase would have to be considered at least by the council’s budget committee before it went before the full council, but Williams said he is asking the chairmen of all three council committees to allow the purchase to go immediately to the full council.

Williams said Friday after signing the agreement with North Cabot Development to buy the land for $399,000, that the state has agreed to pay $340,000 of that amount.

The remaining $59,000 would have to be budgeted over the next year or so. Currently, the city has about $350,000 in reserve, so budgeting for the land for the armory won’t be a hardship, he said.

Once the property is purchased, the deed will be signed over to Arkansas National Guard, which will have the construction of the $8 million armory placed in line for federal funding within the next five years.

Williams says building the armory is “the single biggest thing for Cabot in recent history” which will have an economic impact on the city of $1 million or more a year.

If it is built in the industrial park, it will be visible from the new railroad overpass which should be under construction within the next two months. Since the overpass will be used by school buses, Williams said the location will be good for recruiting. He said he also hopes it will have a positive impact on his efforts to get federal money to build a north interchange that is part of his three-phase plan to connect Highway 5 to U.S. 67-167.