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Mulberry will use state funds to complete road project

Mulberry city officials have agreed to use state money for one road project to complete the Wire Road project, which had stalled because of lack of money.

During a special meeting held Tuesday night, city council members voted in favor of transferring $250,000 allocated by the state for a road project involving Alma Avenue and Church Avenue to the Wire Road project.

In addition to the extra money, doing so will save the city about $155,000 in inspection fees, which will be paid by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, said Mayor Gary Baxter.

Mulberry received $1 million from the federal government to pave two miles along Wire Road - from Georgia Ridge Road to Graphic Road - with the city kicking in about $200,000.

But costs for the project were underestimated by about $400,000 and Mulberry did not have the money to complete the project. Only about one mile of the road has been paved so far.

“There’s no more federal funds for Wire Road,” Baxter said. “If we don’t complete it, we can’t go back and ask for more money.”

After applying for state monies, state officials told Baxter that there was no money that could be granted for the Wire Road project, but that money the city already had been given for Alma Avenue could be transferred.

Money for the Alma Avenue project came from the Arkansas State Aid Street Fund, subsidized by the half-cent sales tax approved by Arkansas voters in November 2012. To receive money from the fund, city officials have to submit a request to a panel of nine mayors.

With the money from the Alma Avenue project, Baxter said the city will now be able to complete the last mile of paving along Wire Road.

“Essentially there’s enough money to do the entire project without the city coming up with more than planned,” Baxter said.

City officials plan to re-apply for money for the Alma Avenue-Church Avenue project next year, Baxter said.

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