With term nearing end, Pennartz offers support for police department expansion

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 351 views 

Fort Smith City Director Tracy Pennartz gave the Fort Smith Police Department a $500 personal donation at the end of the regular meeting of the Fort Smith Board of Directors Tuesday (Dec. 4) night.

“In my time on the board, I have been so impressed with those who protect us day and night, and I think it’s only right in leaving the board this month that I present a check … for the … the Fort Smith Police Academy construction fund,” Pennartz said.

Pennartz, position 5/at large, will end her term at the end of the year. She did not seek reelection. Robyn Dawson will fill her seat in 2019.

“I hope to see, Chief, this built and dedicate myself to helping our police department in any other way to help secure funds for what would be a brand new police academy for the area really,” Pennartz said.

Fort Smith Police Chief Nathaniel Clark said the seven-year plan he has presented to the board, which he hopes will be approved, would include the city looking for a second property for the police department that would house a firing range, a second precinct and police academy. The plan would call for the construction of that facility to start within the next two years.

“A city of this size needs a second facility,” Clark said. “This would take us to what I call 21st Century policing.”

Clark thanked Pennartz for being a strong supporter of the police department, saying, “I know it is because of individuals such as you, who are willing to go the extra mile in order that we, the Fort Smith Police Department, are able to achieve the best results.”

In other business, the board had the third and final reading of an ordinance amending the Master Land Use Plan map and rezoning property at 46th Street and Rogers Avenue to commercial light in order to facilitate the sale of land owned by the Benedictine Sisters at St. Scholastica Monastery and the building of Casey’s General Store on that corner. There were no questions or objections raised by the board prior to the third reading of the ordinance, which was approved by a vote of 4 to 3 at the Nov. 6 board meeting, and the ordinance is now adopted.