Changes sought for Fort Smith public assembly rules

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 71 views 

With the trash collection issue settled (for now), the Fort Smith Board of Directors turned its attention to the parks, police, and fire departments at the Tuesday (June 12) study session.

Leading the way was an ordinance originating in the Parks and Recreation Department and proposing changes to the Fort Smith Municipal Code with regard to regulations for public assembly and special events.

Under the proposals, gatherings of less then 50 people would not be affected should a petitioner wish to canvas for signatures “provided the activity does not disrupt other programs and patrons in the park,” said Mike Alsup, director of Parks and Recreation.

For venues of more than 50 people, a permit would be required, and the changes reflect that the permitting authority (director of Parks and Recreation) would be limited in reasons for denial to 18 choices from a previous 22.

The reduction, according to Alsup, is due to “duplicative provisions.”

Additionally, Alsup said a refundable $500 deposit from a permitted group is required to cover costs for “cleanup and restoration.”

Finally, a permitted group would be denied the ability to exclude others from the park, leaving the permitting authority and the City of Fort Smith Police Department with the responsibility of removing individuals, who are “disrupting recreational programs,” reads the new ordinance, which was placed on the board’s June 19 agenda.

Also up for consideration next Tuesday, the board will vote on whether to move forward with a “Construction Manager” (CM) format for the construction of Fire Station No. 11 at Chaffee Crossing over a traditional “Design-Bid-Build” format.

Fort Smith Fire Chief Mike Richards told board members a construction manager was in “the best interests of the city.”

“We (fire department staff) are recommending the use of the construction manager at risk construction delivery method,” Richards said, noting the CM would be chosen based on experience, and that he would work “with the architect in the development design and construction document phases to help make cost saving adjustments early in the project.”

Finally, the board will decide whether to approve proposed implementation for the police department's proposed Information and Communications Technology Business Continuity Plan and Disaster Recovery Strategy at the EOC Data Center, located at 8400 Zero St.

Chief of Police Kevin Lindsey noted the approximately $470,000 project will not require additional funds, and will be paid for over a three-year period beginning in 2013 from “regularly budgeted funds” and monies from the Federal 2012 Justice Assistance Grant.