The Arkansas Leader

Kincade is optimistic

Mayor sees similarities between 1976 tornado and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Cabot Mayor Ken Kincade gave his state of the city address on Monday.
He said the city faced challenges last year from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, comparing it to the deadly tornado that destroyed downtown 45 years ago, on March 29, 1976.
The tornado path was nine miles long and five people were killed that day. On March 16, 2020, the COVID pandemic shut down the city and the economy. Slowly, life is returning to normal, he said.
Kincade said, “We all know someone, who has passed away from this dreadful disease. It has been a very strenuous time for our city and the community. It’s been tough on our schools, businesses and children.”
“But we did the same thing Cabot did 45 years ago. We stayed together. We took care of one another. We supported our community. Even in the darkest hour, Cabot saw growth. Everyone should be proud of that,” Kincade said.
The tornado of 1976 forced Cabot to rebuild and it continued to grow. At the time there were 2,500 people living in the small town. When the 2020 Census numbers are released in the fall, if Cabot’s population is over 30,000, it will be the 15th largest city in state.
Last year, the city council passed or addressed 53 ordinances and 45 resolutions, 10 more than in 2019. The council voted on changes to ordinances that were not best for businesses, condemned buildings and beautification issues and accepted grant opportunities to help with city projects.
Cabot had $3.7 million in revenues at the end of 2020. When Kincade took office in 2019, there was $1 million in cash available, which would support less than one month of city operations, he said.
Kincade said revenues increased after the city renegotiated franchise tax agreements from the 1960s and 1970s, obtained grant funding and cut expenses.
“We received a $1.2 million grant for the $1.6 million streetscape project. The city’s gateway and sidewalk project will connect to the Exit 19 interchange that may start in the fall or 2022,” Kincade explained.
Cabot received $500,000 in grant funding for a $900,000 adaptive traffic-signal system that will be completed by the end of the year.
The signal lights will all be connected and have a video screen to monitor traffic.
“This should help with gridlock and the frequent trains that come through town,” the mayor said.
The Cabot Police Depart-ment has a new narcotics division led by Lt. Tommy Thompson. Construction has started on a police substation on Hwy. 5 that will be completed by the end of the year.
In the fall, a mayor’s youth council will start up, led by Jayson Crumpler, a 2020 Cabot High School graduate, who is attending Hendrix College in Conway.

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