By Tammy Moore Teague
“Last Thursday was a great day for the City of Waldron and for the community,” Mayor Neil Cherry proclaimed. The city along with co-sponsors, First Baptist Church and Blue Cross, hosted a Pack Shack Party.
Cherry had set a goal of 100 volunteers to fill 30,000 sacks in two hours. That goal was surpassed, however, when over 245 volunteers showed up and filled 33,445 sacks in only one hour and 15 minutes. The Pack Shack is an organization that brings people together to host fun “Feed the Funnel parties.” During these parties, volunteers pack thousands of delicious, healthy meals that are given to local nonprofit organizations. “There are five foodbanks in Waldron,” Cherry said. “We divided those sacks equally between all of them.” Adding that “the people are just so kind hearted and willing to help their neighbor. There is no way I can express my thanks.”
In other news, the city is finishing up work on the first phase of the new park, which is located on the corner of 6th and Elm Street, across from the Boys and Girls Club. “We’ve added a small children’s playground with tether balls, a regulation size basketball court, and a beach volleyball court complete with a foot and a half of sand.” Additionally he reported that the work on the pavilion has been completed along with benches, picnic tables and charcoal grills. “It’s already being booked,” Cherry said. Noting that those who have already reserved the pavilion take priority in its usage.
Future plans for the park include adding electricity, and walking trails. Also, adding Waldron Alumni names to the new sidewalk, particularly those whose names and classes were lost when the new junior high school was built. Cherry predicts that phase one will be completed by fall.
Ongoing work involving the Arkansas Department of Transportation continues to be problematic as the mayor works on getting approval for access in order to develop lands for businesses. “They will not grant us access to develop properties on either side of Highway 71, from Sonic to Weigh Tech Industries,” Cherry explained. Only one access has been granted and that is at the Harps grocery store location. That, however, has came at a high price to the city as they’ve assumed ownership of three quarters of a mile on Highway 80 in order to get it. “The road is in good shape for now,” Cherry commented. “But I do see it being costly to the city in the future.”
Cherry was mayor when the grocery store opened, and has served as mayor for the past few years. Unfortunately, he does not plan to seek re-election. “It’s because of my health,” he explained. Adding that the decision is “in the best interest of the town.”