The Hamburg City Council gave its approval Tuesday, June 15 for the city’s grant writer to continue to gauge public interest in a splash pad and other parks improvements.

They also set a public hearing about the matter for June 22.

Assistant to the Mayor Georganna Cossey is in the process of determining what, if anything, the City of Hamburg can include in an application to the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism for a 50-50 matching grant of up to $500,000, meaning that if given the maximum amount Hamburg’s share would be $250,000.

Cossey told the council that she surveyed 188 residents of Hamburg using online methods. Of those that took the survey, 187 responded in the positive that they would be more interested in seeing more activities for children in the area.

Respondents were also overwhelmingly in favor of adding a splash pad to a city park, with 181 — or 96 percent — saying they supported the idea. Of those, a total of 170 said they would utilize the splash pad in some way if it was installed in Hamburg.

Importantly for the discussion, Cossey said, approximately 60 percent of those surveyed, 112 people, said they would be willing to attend a public forum to discuss the splash pad or other parks improvements that could be included in the grant.

Cossey said that the parks board was meeting last Thursday, and she knew that the area’s ballparks need lights, so there’s a possibility those could be added to the grant as well.

Councilwoman Deanne Murphy said that she was definitely interested in lights for the ball fields. Councilman Daniel Shelton also said that the security cameras at some recreation facilities do not work and that they should be considered.

When Shelton asked her if it had been decided where the splash pad would be installed, Cossey responded that, “That is where the community is supposed to speak on this, and that is when you make up your mind on this.”

A parks manager from the state department was also supposed to in the area Friday to look at possible sites and determine if they were worth investing in for that purpose, she said.

During the discussion, council members had questions about how many employees would be needed to handle a splash pad, what maintenance would be required, and if there were any safety issues involved.

Councilwoman Derenda Stanley ultimately made the motion to allow Cossey to continue seeking information about a splash pad and other recreational options.

“It would keep more people here instead of them driving to Monroe or Monticello to do that,” she said. “The more we can do to keep people here, the better.”

Councilman Drew Foote seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Cossey said the public hearing about the matter is set for 5 p.m. June 22.

The notice that will be posted around town reads:

“The City of Hamburg invites its citizens and other interested persons to a public meeting in City Hall, 305 E. Adams St., Hamburg, Arkansas, on Tuesday, June 22, at 5 p.m.

“The purpose of the meeting is to identify potential outdoor park and recreation needs and priorities. Following the identification process, city officials will select those priorities to be submitted to the Arkansas Department of arks, Heritage and Tourism for an Outdoor Recreation Matching Grant application. Ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and special interest groups are encouraged to attend and participate.

“For those unable to attend the meeting, you may phone 870-853-5300. Written comments may be submitted to P.O. Box 72, Hamburg, AR 71646.”

In other news, during the meeting the council gave its approval to add Mayor David Streeter to the list of people in the city administration who have permission to sign checks. 

Streeter officially took the oath of office that Tuesday before the special-called meeting.