Two specific areas of concern for the Damascus City Council were reviewed at its last meeting, Tuesday, April 11.


In the first, the council heard a presentation as to the need for a community storm shelter. During the recent storms, the council was told, some citizens used the holding cell at the police department as a shelter until the storm passed. The council was presented with a bid for a Storm Box, a $27,000 shelter rated for F5 storms. Additional expense for this solution would be close to $42,000, the council determined, once money was paid for foundation construction and related expenses.


From there the discussion went into how other communities were dealing with storms shelters, with one council member pointing out that North Little Rock used a donated water tank as the basis for its community shelter, while Vilonia had implemented a Storm Box, provided by a Little Rock firm, for its community shelter.


The matter was tabled pending further investigation as to the various means and expenses.


The pending speed trap sanctions, as expected, were on everyone’s mind. City Attorney Beau Wilcox said he had not heard anything further on the matter. This was brought up again later as the city had begun, at its last meeting, looking into the need and nature for speed limit signs which included a flashing warning if a car is detected going over the speed limit.


The problem here was, the council was told, even if the city purchased such signs, they would not be able to put them up on Highway 65 right-of-way due to Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department regulations. If they did put up a sign which violated right-of-way, the council was told, the highway department would take the sign down and take it to its holding yard in Russellville for pickup.


Further action on purchasing signs and where to place them was tabled pending further investigation from the council.


In other council mattersThe council passed a building condemnation ordinance, allowing the city to take action on several abandoned properties.The street department is currently replacing culverts to relieve flooding, with that and asphalt expected to be laid in the next six weeks.Water department needs two new valves in its system. Mayor L.B. Pavatt sounded a cautionary note here, telling the council “Water’s going to get expensive down the road.”Steve Goode, with Goode’s Cash Saver, told the council he was “Honored” to have a store in Damascus.The search is on for a swing set for the park, a “commercial” set being the gold. Investigation is being made into using ground rubber instead of gravel around the swings.