State Of The City Address 2023
State of the City Address
February 13, 2023
2022 began much better than the previous three years. As in life, we’ve had our highs, which we are very thankful for, and our lows, which we’ve learned from and move forward.
This past year we’ve had some successes and we continue to strive to make our city the best it can be.
In 2022 the street department completed the repair of three streets: Pine Tree, Story Drive and Forest Earl. The bases under these streets had given away. These were torn out and-replaced. They also worked diligently on cleaning drainage ditches in the Pleasant Homes addition as well as throughout the city. This will be an ongoing project this year to help our lack of drainage in these areas. There were new tee boxes added for the disc golf as well as new grills and benches throughout the walking trail at Westside Park.
This year we will continue to work on drainage issues, completing some street overlays and add items in our parks.
With the help of OG&E, ARDOT and our street department we were able to bring back a part of history by stringing Christmas lights from the courthouse to businesses on the square. Thanks to the Advertising and Promotions Committee we should be able to complete the project in 2023.
The water department continues improvements on the Water Master Plan by providing a hydraulic study to improve the system pressure and to project water treatment plant demands and improvements needed.
The SCADA controls at Helberg valve, Manitou Pump and Tank, East and Butterball Tank Valves as well as Puddin Ridge Pump and Tank have been upgraded.
Recently, we’ve applied for and received the recommended award from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission for $379,134 with 0% cost share for the Water Treatment Plant Sodium Hypochlorite Improvement Project.
Upcoming projects include improvements at headworks of wastewater treatment plant; smoke testing and analysis of wastewater collection system, and rehabilitation of manholes.
The Ozark Fire Department completed a total of 787 calls and purchased and trained with the new Hurst Rescue Tools. Two new volunteer firefighters have been added as well as a full-time building inspector.
In 2022, the Ozark Community Center exceeded their revenue goal. There were a total of 406 rentals for the year. The Underwater Easter Egg Hunt was brought back. A new flagpole has been installed in front of the center, additional artwork has been placed in front of the center all while increasing the number of memberships.
We held the 1st annual Hillbilly Huck (disc golf) tournament in our Westside Park. Several teams took part in the event. We’re looking forward to this year’s tournament.
Construction is nearing completion in the back area of the center for the putt-putt and fitness area and is expected to be opening sometime next month. This project is one example of our community working together. The Cass Job Corp students and instructors have worked with the designs to near the project to completion.
The Ozark Police Department took 971 reports, 408 misdemeanor arrests, 70 felony arrests, worked 140 accidents, wrote 550 traffic tickets, and 1,497 traffic warnings. There were 119 ordinance tickets issued as well as 169 ordinance warnings, 7 juvenile tickets, 247 subpoenas and 310 warrants served.
The OPD served as host for a variety of 21 training classes. These courses totaled around 48 days of training. Each training class averaged 35 in enrollment. These days of training at our facilities brought in people from 15 different agencies from not only our local area but state and federal agencies as well.
Our local officers also participated in community service projects including reading books to the elementary school students, co-teaching a drug class with DTF at the Ozark Public Schools, assisted Cass Job Corps with their annual security training and raised $12,000 for Shop- With-A-Cop that provided gifts for 81 kids in the Ozark School District.
We showed how our community works together during the 2022 Clean- Up. Around 35 students and their advisors from Ozark Public Schools’ FBLA and BETA clubs assisted that week and made a huge difference in our community.
Some goals and activities for 2023: On Feb. 3, I met with the WAPDD representative, Tracy McKenna, regarding any available grants for the city. I also met with Congressman Westerman’s field rep, Gene Higgin Botham, about any federal money that may be available for the city.
The Pride and Beautification Committee has some new ideas to have a more inviting appearance to our city. They are also wanting to get more organizations and families involved in adopt-a-spot.
We have waited since 2019 and this April the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department will open construction bids for Hwy 64 from the west end of city limits to the east end limits. This long-awaited improvement is projected to begin in June. Please realize this improvement will take some time to complete. There will be construction along Hwy 64 through the city. Make plans now on how you may need to re-route any commute you may have through the city to avoid construction.
We are working with the Ozark Area Chamber of Commerce in placing directional signage for locations throughout our area. This should help bring traffic downtown from the Interstate area.
We applied for a grant for a community food pantry last year. We hope to hear something from this within the next two weeks.
Unfortunately, we had 15 businesses close in 2022. Fortunately, 22 new businesses have opened and we welcome them to the city. We are also looking forward to Tractor Supply breaking ground soon in 2023.
In September of 2022 a Bridge Lighting Committee was formed through Main Street Ozark. Support letters have been written and things are underway to get LED lights on the bridge in the future.
Ozark continues to have a strong financial foundation. With your help we will continue to work together to build on that foundation to make an even better place to live and grow our families.