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Pace on center expected to quicken

The pace for planning White Hall’s proposed community center should pick up in the coming weeks, Mayor Noel Foster said Monday.

With timber cleared from the city-owned 30-acre tract on the southeast corner of the intersection of Dollarway and Hoadley roads, a McClelland Consulting Engineers Inc. crew can conduct a topographical survey to map the rolling terrain, Foster said.

“We don’t want to move the dirt but once,” Foster emphasized.

The city’s Advertising and Promotion Commission authorized the clearing work so architects and engineers would have a better view of the site for planning the center.

Foster said he plans to tour several Northwest Arkansas projects the McClelland firm has been involved in, along with Alderman Ken Smith and architect Fred Reed.

Aquatic parks, including splash pads, pools and slides, will be included on the tour, Foster said, adding, “We don’t want to overbuild or under build.”

City officials in the past have discussed building the center in stages under a pay-as-you go plan, using revenues from the city’s motel and prepared food sales tax to fund construction.

However, earlier this year the commission agreed to look at revenue bonds as one way to construct the center in one project. Sales tax revenues could be pledged to retire any bond indebtedness.

Foster said no deadline has been established to take plans to the A&P Commission.

“We are at the mercy of the architects and engineers,” the mayor said.

— By Larry Fugate