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Local News

November 5, 2013

City changes course on closing Turner Street

Ada — A previously closed section of Turner Street is open to traffic again.

The Ada City Council repealed an ordinance Monday that closed Turner Street between 10th Street and the north boundary of the alley between Main and 10th streets.

Trinity Baptist Church originally requested the road closing as a way to reduce traffic in the area and protect church members. But church officials withdrew their request on Monday, saying they had not intended to generate conflict with other residents.

“We just felt like it was creating so much animosity in our community, and we don’t want that,” said senior pastor Rusty Fuller. “We want to be a church that’s serving our community and trying to meet the needs and take care of spiritual and physical needs in our community.”

He said the church would continue operating under a 2006 agreement that allows Turner Street to be closed on Sundays, Wednesdays and other special occasions.

The church’s decision to pull the request marked the end of a discussion that started three months ago, when the council agreed to close part of Turner Street to the public except for emergency use. In making the decision, the council asked city staff to come up with a traffic plan for the street.

City Engineer Gary Kinder’s report outlined several options for closing the street but did not include any recommendations. The options included:

• Closing part of the street and making the alley a one-way route to the west, allowing northbound traffic to exit onto North Hope Avenue.

• Installing speed bumps on Turner.

• Putting up gates with flashing lights, similar to railroad crossings.

The last two options did not require closing the street.

The decision to close Turner triggered complaints from area business owners, who urged the city to consider other options for reducing traffic in the area.

Ada resident Barbara Young said Monday that business owners on Turner did not object to having Trinity as a neighbor, but any road closing would create a problem for area business owners.

“It would have been the same discussion that we would have had if this had been a grocery store located there or a Dillard’s store located there or anything else,” she said.

Young said business owners did not have a problem with Trinity’s current strategy of using barricades to create a safe zone on Turner Street.

Councilman Guy Sewell said city officials are still looking at ways to make Turner Street safer for pedestrians.

In other business, the council:

• Authorized the city to buy property for a new sports complex for $515,500.

The 65-acre property is located on the east side of state Highway 99, east of the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training center. The land is owned by the Ada Industrial Development Corp., an economic development agency dedicated to growing the community.

• Amended a city ordinance to allow local nonprofit organizations to solicit donations from drivers and their passengers, as long as they obtain permission from the city manager.

The city previously banned pedestrians from soliciting rides, business or donations from people in vehicles. But the Ada Professional Firefighters organization asked the city to amend the ordinance so firefighters could raise funds for muscular dystrophy.

Under the revised ordinance, local nonprofits must apply for a permit to conduct fundraising drives at certain intersections. The events cannot last more than five days, and they can only take place during the day.

People participating in the event must wear high-visibility safety vests, and they must post signs announcing the event within 100 yards of the intersection.

• Did not act on a request for funding from Abba’s Tables.

The organization, which provides nutritious meals for needy people, had asked the city for $1,000. Councilmen said the cause was worthwhile, but they weren’t sure whether they should approve the request since it came after the city set its budget for the year.

“After this is over with, I’d be happy to make a donation,” Sewell said. “But I don’t see this as the city’s job, and I certainly don’t see this as the city’s job outside the normal budgeting process, because I don’t know where it stops.”

Councilman Bryan Morris said the city invites organizations seeking a share of taxpayer dollars to submit their requests in January each year. He urged Abba’s Tables to get on the city’s mailing list for next year.

• Agreed to support Cottage Lane Family Residence Limited Partnership’s application for state tax credits for a housing rehabilitation project.

Cottage Lane is planning to upgrade a 52-unit housing development at 1318 Nadine Drive.

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