Council and Mayor approve application for Microbrewery permit

The Mena City Council convened on Tuesday, Oct. 8 for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. A quorum was met with five council members present; Council member Andy Brown was absent. 

Fred Ogden, Mena Intermountain Airport manager, reported  the final 4600 feet of pavement above Taxiway Alpha has been laid with a remaining 200 feet to be completed.

Kevin Wolfenbarger reported there were 13 permits isued last month for a total of $17,281. The majority of the dollars from the building permits issued were for the future assisted living center. Wolfenbarger stated that progress on the center has been good.

Mena Fire Department Assistant Chief Charles Hankins reported three brush fires, two vehicle fires, two aircraft standbys at the airport, two public service calls, one smoke detector malfunction and one unauthorized controlled burn. Hankins reported the department attended two public relation events, completed inspections at Mena Public Schools, and the restrooms at the firehouse have now been completed.

Mena Regional Health System Chief Financial Officer Karey Don Kesterson reported 31 babies were delivered, 125 surgeries were performed, 784 patients were seen in the Emergency Room and 60 patients were admitted into the hospital. Outpatient registration totalled  3,143 and the clinic saw 2,126 patients.

Parks and Recreation Director Philip Lance reported fall soccer season was underway with more than 150 children participating and the fall season will continue through the month of October. Lance also reported the adult soccer league will wrap up at the end of October. Lance shared regular maintenance continues with the baseball and softball fields. 

Mena Parks Superintendent Wes Kimp reported that all lights for the Christmas displays are currently being tested.

Mena Police Chief Tommy Stueart reported 366 calls for service, 47 arrests, 262 written and or verbal warnings and 18  vehicle accidents. 

Street Superintendent Aaron Rice reported on sidewalk repairs, an upcoming overlay, and reminded the Council of the fall cleanup efforts that began on Oct. 14.

Mena Water Department Superintendent Charles Pitman reported a water loss of 28.7% for the month of September, there were no permit violations with the Wastewater Treatment Plant, two new water services were install by the maintenance department as well as one new sewer service and completed two sewer rehab projects and 13 various repairs.

Council member Terri Neugent reported for the A&P commission the collection of $14,713 in tax revenue from local restaurants and $3,892 for lodging during the month of August. The A&P Commission approved the following: the renewal of the Marketing Consulting Contract with the Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce, a planning budget for the Christmas Festival, a new sports registration website for Tapley Park, installation of a new water meter for the soccer field at Tapley Park, a switch of the internet service at Tapley Park and declared the commission seat of Debbie Skaggs as vacant. The next scheduled A&P Commission meeting will be Nov. 5 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Resolution 1369 regarding the conveyance of an easement to Jimmy A. Ayres and Sara M. Ayres was accepted and adopted by the Council.

Resolution 1370 authorizing the mayor to apply to the Arkansas Community Assistance Grant Program for funding in the amount of $23,700 to purchase new protective clothing for the Mena Fire Department was accepted and adopted by the Council. 

Resolution 1371 authorizing the City Clerk/Treasurer to destroy outdated records and supporting documents of the City of Mena that are no longer needed for city business was accepted and adopted by the Council.

Ordinance 2308-19 was accepted and adopted by the council  with a council vote of 3-2 and an affirmative vote by Mayor Seth Smith pursuant to Act 681 of 2019, approving the application of Ouachita Brewing Company, Inc. for a microbrewery-restaurant private club permit to be located at 821 Mena Street in Mena, Arkansas. Council members Dwight Douglas and Ed Gibson voted no against the ordinance and Council Members Mary Alice Head, Neugent, and James Earl Turner voted yes for the ordinance. 

Prior to the adoption of Ordinance 2308-19, Derek Campbell, accompanied with his attorney, addressed the council about his desire in bringing the microbrewery to Mena. “With this microbrewery, we would be able to brew beer in-house and have it on tap while serving craft pizza,” shared Campbell. Campbell shared ideas of  an upcoming menu which included pizza, pretzel bites, soup, salad and a rotating monthly entree. Campbell emphasized that the efforts of the food, coffee, and beer would be specialized and provide a place for the community to come and gather to be around friends and family while enjoying the atmosphere. There would be a capacity of 60 once renovations have been completed. Campbell explained it would not be for the service of ‘hard alcohol’ and in addition to the beer, they would be able to serve wine and champagne offering opportunities for celebrations and brunch. With the application of a microbrewery, Campbell explained they would be regulated in the amount they can produce and distribute. “We want to make very delicious and specialized craft products…The goal is not to produce large volumes, but to produce great small volumes that we could enjoy here,” said Campbell. Campbell currently owns and operates Ouachita Coffee Roasters located at the 821 Mena Street address. 

Ordinance 2309-19 authorizing borrowing funds for the purchase of certain tangible personal property by the issuance of a promissory note; declaring an emergency; and for other matters relating thereto was accepted and adopted by the Council.

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