PEA RIDGE – A wooded area off Greer Street was vacated when the owner died several years ago.
Now the city is petitioning the Arkansas Commissioner of Lands for this property.
After Merrie Lynne Smith’s death, city officials “repaired the property for its unsightly and unsanitary conditions and filed a municipal lien in 2016 in the amount of $11,528.61,” according to the petition to Tommy. Land, commissioner of lands of Arkansas. The property has been certified by the county tax collector and is expected to be put up for sale by the commissioner for non-payment of property taxes.
City Council members approved the resolution at their Feb. 15 meeting allowing city officials to request the approximately 5 acres of ownership, which Mayor Jackie Crabtree said would benefit the city for ownership of the park.
According to the resolution, “if the commissioner is included to grant the said act, the city council will provide for the proper management and supervision of the park” and the “city will be a good steward of the property entrusted to the state”.
There are about 250 homes just south and west of the property, according to the petition. Two additional parcels nearby, comprising 75 unimproved acres, sold for more than $2.7 million in November, according to the petition, and more than 500 additional housing units are expected to be built southeast of the property.
“The city intends to use the property as municipal park land,” according to the petition, which also states that “the city’s parks department is designated and will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the property if the commissioner decides to issue a deed for the property to the city.”
The petition also states that the city “will begin cleaning and improving the property for park use within 12 months of receiving the commissioner’s deed.”
“With the growth in this area, it’s strategically located,” city attorney Shane Perry told council members. “It will be very beneficial to the town. It would be a great asset to the town of Pea Ridge.”
City building official Tony Townsend asked if the land had reverted to the state, even though the city had a lien on it.
Perry said the property had been certified to be auctioned, but with covid restrictions the auction did not take place.
“When I checked he was still there, so I think we should ask that and see what happens,” Perry said.
All four members of city council voted in favor of the resolution.