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— When it all ended on the morning of March 10, the Decatur Barbecue was without a home, and the city was without one of its parks facilities. When the Decatur City Council convened on March 12 during its regularly scheduled session at Decatur City Hall, the news was not good.

Mayor Bob Tharp reported that an early-morning fire extensively damaged the chicken shack at Veterans Park and the building was a total loss.

After talking to the Arkansas Municipal League's insurance providers who insure all city property, Kim Wilkins discovered the shack, along with about 20 city-owned buildings were not insured. City hall, the fire stations, library, depot, log cabin and wastewater treatment plant structures are all insured.

The dilemma facing the council was whether or not to replace the 20-by-40-foot chicken shack and how to fund the project. The council decided to task James Boston, director of public works, with getting bids on a new structure. Once Boston completes this process, the council will convene a special meeting to review his findings.

As for the question of insurance on the remaining park buildings, a representative from the Municipal League will arrive in Decatur March 14 to look at the chicken shack and talk to city officials on the issue of insuring the remaining outbuildings so the city will not have to face this kind of issue again.

Later in the session, Tharp presented an ordinance that would turn the Decatur Historical Committee into a commission.

The current committee has been in operation for the past three years, researching historical events through its forum programs and working with the old game films donated by the high school.

However, in the last six months, the committee has operated with one restriction, no budget.

The solution came during the committee's March 7 regularly-scheduled business meeting when Tharp unveiled his ordinance plan.

Under the ordinance, the Decatur Historical Commission would operate under six commissioners and a city council representative. The commission would become a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization that would oversee the operations of the depot museum, log cabin and future historical sites. The group would also maintain the collection of artifacts on display at the depot.

The historical committee voted to send the ordinance to the council for its approval.

After hearing from Tharp and Linda Martin, the council approved the first reading of the ordinance. The ordinance will be read and voted on two more times before its adoption which is scheduled for the May session.

The Decatur City Council meets in regular session on the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the conference room at Decatur City Hall. The first 30 minutes of each meeting is open to public comments and concerns. For more information, contact the city clerk's office at 479-752-3912.

General News on 03/21/2018

Print Headline: Council hears changes to historical committee, reviews fire at Veterans Park

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