Speaking before the Heber Springs City Council meeting on August 16, Rich Florczak, organizer for the 2018 Cardboard Boat Races, declared the 32nd annual event a success and showed the organization’s appreciation to the council for their support.
Florczak reported that attendance was up 10% over last year’s races and that the main complaint he received from vendors was a shortage of hotel rooms, causing them to go all the way to Searcy to find somewhere to stay.
Florczak was pleased with the media coverage the races received this year. He stated that the races were covered all day on Channel 7 with spots in their morning show and live coverage afterward. He stated that Channel 11 was here earlier in the week on Friday before the races and that he appeared on Channel 4 the Wednesday prior to the races. He also mentioned there were announcements on Suddenlink, CNN, the History Channel, and several other media services, including local advertisements in the newspaper and on the radio.
The committee of volunteers has already begun their kick-off for the 2019 boat races while waiting for approval on a date. The theme for next year will be Planes, Trains, & Automobiles, and vessels will not be allowed to look like a boat. The group is excited about having a theme already because it allows entrants more time to work on their projects and hopefully will result in even higher participation.
Florczak recognized Crestwood Academy in Little Rock for incorporating the Cardboard Boat Races into their summer youth program. One hundred twenty students participated in the summer program, building 40 boats for the opportunity to participate in the races. The CBBR organization looks forward to possibility of having several entries from them next year and hopes that some of our local programs will take up the challenge and follow suit.
On behalf of the organization, Florczak presented Mayor Jimmy Clark a poster to show their gratitude for the support of the city in the annual event and gave each council member a framed certificate of appreciation.
In other business, the Council approved a resolution to accept a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to rehabilitate the city airport with tree removal and other necessary work. The grant will also finance the application of a badly needed new surface to the present runway while maintaining the same length and width.
The 90/10 grant consists of approximately $1,433,500 from federal funds and $156,380 from state funds, totaling over 1.5 million dollars. The project will use no local funding.
During the supervisor reports, Police Chief Bobby Walker introduced newly hired officer Eric Moore. Mayor Clark thanked him for his service and welcomed him to the force.
Other new business included the removal of an older copy machine from the mayor’s office and its replacement with a newer, more efficient machine. Also, Planning and zoning presented a request for a variance to move a house back.
Upcoming events discussed at the meeting included this year’s deer hunt. Interested parties should go to arkansasbowhunters.org and go to the drop down menu titled Urban Hunt to register. Registration is now underway with hunting beginning on Saturday, September 1.
Councilwoman Sharron Williams reported to the council that a free dance will be held at the Community Center on Saturday, September 15 from 6-8:30 p.m. Local dance club, the Jitterboppers, will provide music for the event. Williams is planning to reach out to some of the area youth in hopes of getting participation from all generations.
Also discussed was the Health Expo which will be at the Community Center on September 12 from noon to 6 p.m., and this year’s Field of Heroes on September 11 at 11:00 a.m. Flags will be displayed on the courthouse lawn in honor of Heber Springs citizens who have died serving our country.
All council members were present with the exception of Ali Sugg, Ward 3.