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More of the great outdoors is coming to town
Foreman officials have been very busy lately with several new projects. One of the most exciting is the recent announcement that the city has obtained funds to develop approximately 40 acres on North Malden Street for a city park. The new park project is the result of the efforts of several area individuals. Special recognition is due State Senator Barbara Horn and former State Representative Ken Cowling who both worked diligently to help secure more than $400,000 for the project. Total funds include a $220,000 grant from Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, a $48,300 grant from the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Program and a $150,000 grant from the State General Improvement fund.
The monies will be used to develop the land, which the city already owns, for use as the city’s outdoor recreation area. Along with beautiful landscaping and lots of trees, the new park will feature playground equipment, a picnic area and a baseball/softball field. The addition of a second ball field for city use is particularly exciting as it is one of the requirements for hosting the annual state softball tournament. Foreman’s own Lady Gators have won the state tournament five years in a row, and city residents are eager to now be able to bid to host the competition that they have dominated for so long.
New community center gets official funding
Foreman residents will soon be able to enjoy a new, fully appointed community center thanks in part to a $250,000 grant provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also commonly known as the federal stimulus bill. The funds were approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program administered by the grants division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC).
The new community center will be located in the old city hall building which also once served as a car dealership before being purchased by the city. City Hall operations, which included a public computer lab, were forced to evacuate the building after flooding caused extensive damage. Although the city hall was relocated, the public computer lab could not be replaced, and the original structure remained in the city’s possession as officials hoped to one day renovate and redevelop it for public use. With the news of the block grant award, that hope will soon become a reality.
In addition to a large forum suitable for meetings and other public functions, the center will also house a brand-new computer lab to replace the previous one lost in the flood.
No definitive completion date has been given, but plans are now underway to start work on the project with construction set to begin in the near future.
Foreman Fire and Rescue acquires new rescue truck
Foreman volunteer fireman are excited about the department’s recent acquisition of a 2009 Chevrolet 3500 one Ton truck to replace its current search and rescue vehicle. The new truck provides the department with state of the art equipment to aid in emergency and rescue operations.
The truck is equipped with rear-mounted directional spotlights and floodlights, a heavy-duty front bumper system including a winch and a heavy-duty utility bed that will be used to house the department’s extrication system, popularly referred to as the ‘jaws of life’, as well as a full array of emergency rescue equipment.
Funds for the new truck were provided by a combination USDA Rural Development grant and loan. Of the $42,000 total, $23,000 is in the form of a grant with the remaining $19,000 specified as a loan that will be repaid to the program by the city.
The truck was purchased at Royal Chevrolet in Foreman, and graphics and equipment installation were provided by Little River County deputy Glen Hankins of Hankins Custom Signs.
If Foreman had an official color
Across our great country, different places are known for different things. Chicago is the ‘Windy City’. New York is the ‘Big Apple’. San Fransisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, and Memphis has the Blues. Even Vegas has all those lights and… er, well we won’t get into what all Vegas has.
But the point is, most every place, whether big or small, is known for something. And Foreman is no different. We’re about as natural as the ‘Natural State’ comes.
Tracy Lawrence Annual Homecoming Concert was a big hit!
Foreman would like to formally thank country music star and Foreman native Tracy Lawrence as well as Tracy Byrd, Richie McDonald and Zona Jones for putting on a great Homecoming Concert this year at the Foreman High School Memorial Stadium.
Lawrence has held the concert for 15 years to benefit the Tracy Lawrence Foundation which aims to enhance educational opportunities for the children of Foreman and surrounding communities. Over it’s 15 year run, the event and the foundation have raised more than $1,000,000 for the cause.
Lady Gators win an unprecedented fourth straight championship!
The Lady Gators softball team has done it again & again & again & again! After playing in the state tournament at Rogers, AR, the girls took the familiar trip to Fayetteville for their fifth state finals in a row and came home with the championship trophy a record-breaking fourth year in a row! Numerous team & individual state records were broken. What a great accomplishment! Can you say “DYNASTY”?!?!?
If you haven’t already congratulated them on their record-breaking feat, be sure to let them know how proud you are of them the next time you see one of the girls around town. Congratulations girls! You’ve earned it!
Looking to the Future
Ash Grove Cement Co. broke ground Friday October 19, 2007 on a new $350 million plant that will replace the existing facility here and increase both production and efficiency. Cement production at the plant will increase to 1.7 million tons per year, up 700,000 tons from the current plant’s rate, after three wet kilns are replaced by one dry kiln, company officials said. “Today’s announcement is a win-win-win for Ash Grove, Foreman and for the State of Arkansas,” said Ash Grove Chairman Charles Sunderland. “We couldn’t have done it without the vision, the energy and the hard work of local and state leaders.”
More than 600 construction workers will be employed while the plant is built. Updated control technology and fuel systems are being incorporated into the new plant to lessen the environmental impact. New loading silos will also be built. Sunderland said the new plant will be a milestone for the company, which he said is the largest American-owned cement company in the country. The local plant is a flagship plant for Ash Grove and will be a state-of-the-art plant for the industry, he said. “Ash Grove is really committed to being a national leader in the production of Portland cement,” Sunderland said.
Dan Peterson, plant manager, also praised employees’ hard work, saying it helped make this expansion possible. “Our employees are the best employees in this part of the country, if not the world,” he said, adding the plant wants to be a strong part of the community for the next 50 years. The company is also celebrating about 50 years of operation in Foreman.
The increased efficiency at the plant will help it compete with foreign-owned companies such as those in China. “We’re excited about what we’re doing today and excited about the future of Arkansas,” he said. Local officials praised the investment in the Foreman plant, which employs about 150 workers. Because of the increased efficiency, employment is not expected to increase at the plant itself.
“This is life to Foreman and Little River County,” said State Sen. Barbara Horn, D-Foreman. She also called it a “win-win-win” for all involved. State Rep. Larry Cowling, D-Foreman, called the expansion a big plus for the area and the state. “It’s been tremendous for the first 50 (years) and we can’t wait for the next 50 to start,” said Cowling. Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe praised the Sunderland family’s investment in the plant, which he said is particularly notable in an industry now 90 percent owned by foreign entities.
“Ash Grove has been a cornerstone of Foreman for 50 years. The company is now making an additional investment in this community, one that is both substantial and environmentally friendly,” Beebe said. “I appreciate their continued commitment to the people of Southwest Arkansas.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., said jobs at the plant are the kind that are hard to move overseas. I was just here to thank the folks from Ash Grove for investing in Southwest Arkansas and creating jobs for working families,” Ross said. Headquartered in Overland Park,Kan. Ash Grove is the sixth largest cement company in the nation with nine plants.
This article is a reprint from the Texarkana Gazette.
|From Foreman to:||DISTANCE|
|Ashdown, AR||19 miles|
|Texarkana, AR||43 miles|
|Little Rock, AR||181 miles|
|Fort Smith, AR||156 miles|
|Dallas, TX||174 miles|
State Hwy 108
State Hwy 32
State Hwy 41
The Ouachita Mountains were formed when a collision of two continents squeezed up from the ocean floor thick layers of sedimentary rock. They have lost thousands of feet of elevation to weathering and erosion since emerging above sea level, and their tallest summit now reaches less than 2,700 feet. Within the 1.7 million-acre Ouachita National Forest (est. 1907) are back roads and hiking trails that provide visitors with an up-close experience of the mountains. Among the forest’s most popular campgrounds are the Albert Pike Recreation Area on the Little Missouri River and the Shady Lake Recreation Area, located on a scenic 25-acre lake formed by a Civilian Conservation Corps dam constructed in the 1930s. Popular day-use spots include the Little Missouri Falls and the scenic Winding Stairs areas. The forest also provides several float camps for canoeists on the upper Ouachita River