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Jacksonville borrows $3.1 million to complete five city projects

<p>Workers of Kullander Construction of Little Rock continue to build the new $5 million public safety building for the city of Jacksonville on Marshall Road. The city is borrowing money to help complete the project. (Photo by Greg Rayburn)</p>

Workers of Kullander Construction of Little Rock continue to build the new $5 million public safety building for the city of Jacksonville on Marshall Road. The city is borrowing money to help complete the project. (Photo by Greg Rayburn)

The Jacksonville City Council voted Thursday to authorize Mayor Gary Fletcher to borrow up to $3.1 million to continue funding for five municipal projects that are under way.

During the last regular meeting of the city council, Fletcher told aldermen it was important for the city to get the funds, so it can complete unfinished projects.

“We have to get these projects done because there are deadlines for them to be completed since we received grant money,” Fletcher said.

He said he wants to use the funds to finance the completion of the:

• Construction on Marshall Road of the city’s new public safety building, which will house the Jacksonville Police Department and 911 emergency center. Last year, the city council proceeded with plans to build a new $5 million public safety building. The projected cost to complete the safety building is $2.6 million, according to the mayor.

Fletcher said he is expecting the safety center to be completed by Nov. 1 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

• Widening of Graham Road to four lanes. The projected cost to finish the street is $50,000. Fletcher said the project should be completed in the early part of 2013.

• Building of two round-abouts, which are designed to decrease traffic congestion on streets which are busier during some part of the day, such as the evening and morning rush hours.

The city wants to complete one at the intersection of Harris and Main streets and a second at Harris Street and General Samuels Road. The projected completion cost of the Harris/Main round-about is $150,000, and the Harris/General Samuels site is $100,000, according to Fletcher.

The mayor said he wants to see the Harris/General Samuels round-about finished before the fall with the Harris/Main one done by late fall.

• Construction of a tornado shelter/exercise room at the Jacksonville Senior/Wellness Center, which should cost between $150,000-$200,000.

“The last time the senior center received renovations was in the 1980s,” Fletcher said.

He said the center is used much more frequently now and needs renovating.

While the city is borrowing up to $3.1 million, the funds will be used to finish $8.3 worth of improvements in Jacksonville.

“We don’t want to miss the deadlines to get these projects done and have to give grant money back,” Fletcher said.

He purposely made estimates that are probably too high for the completion of these projects to make sure there would be enough revenue to finish the jobs, he said.

Fletcher said the city remains in solid financial condition, and he is confident it won’t have any trouble repaying the loan.

The council voted to approve a proposal from First Arkansas Bank and Trust to borrow the funds at a rate of 2.49 percent interest.

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