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A more commercial Gravel Ridge is goal

Sherwood has had a reputation for years as being a pro-development community for business. That mentality is finding its way into the community of Gravel Ridge — a community that was in the middle of an annexation fight about three years ago between the cities of Sherwood and Jacksonville.

Gravel Ridge’s 3,200 people and its main business development center along Arkansas 107 had historically been a mixture of both residential and commercial establishments.

Prior to Gravel Ridge’s annexation, there was no municipal city zoning restrictions since the community was unincorporated.

But the mixture of residential and commercial appears to be changing with the leadership being directed by Sherwood’s elected leadership.

On March 25, the Sherwood City Council adopted an ordinance to convert 15001 Arkansas 107 East from R-1 residential to commercial at the request of its property owner, Mark Weber.

Webber told aldermen he is not sure exactly what he wants to do with the property but wants to develop it for a conducive use for the community.

Neighbor Lisa Smith asked the council to consider not approving the request.

“I supported and campaigned for Gravel Ridge to be inside of Sherwood,” Smith said.

Smith said a few years ago Sherwood leaders took the stance that they would support the idea of Arkansas 107 through Gravel Ridge to be primarily commercial property.

Smith said there are several areas along the highway that have a lot of residential homes.

Smith said she does not want to see Gravel Ridge’s main thoroughfare lose its residential presence. She said people like herself want to build on to their properties so some of their family members have more space.

Alderman Charles Harmon said Sherwood’s zoning restrictions are providing Gravel Ridge residents more protection from unwanted business development.

“Before Sherwood annexed Gravel Ridge a business could go and do what it wanted and not have to come here,” Harmon said.

City Engineer Ellen Norvell said the city code would require the commercial property owner to erect a six-foot tall barrier between his land and his residential neighbors.

In other action, the council also approved an ordinance to rezone the rear portion of property located at 4101 E. Kiehl Ave. from C-1 to C-3. The property is the former Harvest Food Addition.

Olan Asbury of Asbury Real Estate Services said a prospective buyer wants to use the vacant property as a storage unit.

Asbury said a portion of the property was zoned C-3 with the other part C-1. The potential property owner wants it all to be C-3.

The council also voted to reappoint Carolyn Chalmers to the Sherwood Civil Service Commission. Her term will expire on April 1, 2019.

The council also announced several upcoming community events:

— The Sherwood Senior Citizens Fun Day is set for Saturday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center, 2301 Thornhill Drive. The fish fry will be held from 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with the cost being $10 per person and children under 10 cost $3. The silent auction will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with items being donated by businesses, individuals and senior craft groups. The cakewalk and sale is slated for noon until 1:30 p.m. and live music will be provided from 10 a.m. to noon. Games will also be played. Funds will be used from the Senior Citizens Fun Day to help purchase needed items for the center. The event is open to the public. For anyone who has more questions, he or she can contact Don Hindman at the Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center at 834-5770.

— The Sherwood Optimist Club has set opening ceremonies for Saturday, April 13, on Field 1 of the city’s baseball/softball sports complex.

— The city’s next Shred-A-Thon will be held on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on Arkansas 107.

— The city has designated April 19 as public document destruction day where the city will destroy outdated public documents.

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