Bella Vista Proud


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Proud The Weekly Vista Wednesday, June 22, 2022 F C3 It's easy to find things to brag about in Bella Vista Welcome to Bella Vista Proud, a special addition to our regular edition. This is my first Bella Vista Proud section to put together (with much help from our terrific staff ) as managing editor of The Weekly Vista, and when I began thinking about content for this year's section I decided to run with the idea that immediately popped into my head when I was asked what kind of a theme around which we would center this year's section. The city's hard-working, gen - erous volunteers? The city's nat- ural beauty seen every day in the land, lakes, vistas, birds and wild- life? How about the wonderful, friendly people of Bella Vista? Or maybe the local business owners who love helping those in the community thrive and succeed as much as they do their own businesses? When I think of the Bella Vista Proud concept I think of all these things. I knew we would have no problem filling the pages of the 2022 edition with many wonder - ful stories of subjects that make us proud to be a part of this com- munity. Just as quickly, though, I re- alized the bad news that more often than not follows any good. The bad news was that we only had 12 pages in which to tell the stories of all the things that make us Bella Vista Proud. I don't know exactly how many pages it would take to properly tell those stories. I quickly found out it would be more than a doz - en — dozens of dozens, more like it — so we pared it down to organizations that receive a lot of community support, groups that do a lot of good in our commu- nity, things that make us proud to live here, work here and play here, things we love sharing with those who aren't as fortunate to be able to interact with every- thing Bella Vista. In this special section you'll find stories about the Bella Vista Animal Shelter and Historical Museum, the Public Library and Boys and Girls Club, the Farmers Market and Courtesy Van, the Property Owners Association, and stories and photos high - lighting the strengths of the city's public safety departments. But please don't think for one moment this is all we have to be proud of here in Bella Vista, or that these organizations car - ry more importance than the other wonderful organizations, charities and businesses in our community. Had space permitted, we would have been talking in detail about the 100-plus miles of trails that are enjoyed on a daily basis by riders, runners and hikers living both in and out of the city limits and the crowds these trails bring to our community. There would be stories about our many artists who produce an exten - sive variety of artwork for their neighbors to enjoy. Or the myriad of clubs within the POA and all the great projects they produce and contribute to as well as the variety of programs that have been established to help the large population of veterans living in this city. I think you get the idea. There are so many things in this com - munity that make us Bella Vista Proud. We here at The Weekly Vis- ta will continue to bang the drum for these clubs, businesses, orga- nizations and individuals, if not in a a special section then in the 52 editions we publish through the course of the year. We here at The Weekly Vista are Bella Vista Proud and happy to bring you this small glimpse into some of the reasons why we are that way. We hope you are, too. After all, there are dozens of doz - ens of reasons why you should be Bella Vista Proud. • • • Bennett Horne is the managing editor of The Weekly Vista. He can be reached via email at bhorne@ Opinions ex - pressed are those of the author. Bennett Horne/The Weekly Vista Old Glory flies above the sign that not only welcomes visitors to Bella Vista, but also its residents back home. Bennett Horne The View From Here Mayor proud of positive growth in community Editor's note: Peter Christie is only the second mayor the city of Bella Vista has ever had, and even though the mayor's second term is coming to an end, he's chosen not to run for re-election. The city has seen many improve - ments and much positive growth under his administration. Christie was recently asked his thoughts about Bella Vista, in particular the things he's most proud of over the past eight years where the community is concerned and he was happy to contribute the following thoughts for The Weekly Vista's Bella Vista Proud section. Mayor Peter Christie Special to The Weekly Vista I am honored to have been given the opportunity to serve our community for two terms as mayor and am very proud of many things we've accomplished as a community during that time. • I am proud of our our res - idents. We are a community that enjoys the out- doors and all our wonderful ame- nities. We are a caring community helping our neigh- bors and friends. We volunteer at our churches, service clubs, animal shelter, museum, library, various com- missions, foundations, councils and more! • I am very proud of our city employees and their supportive families. I have been building teams for more than 40 years. We have the best of the best! • I am proud of our administra - tive team which has expanded to include communications, human resources and IT. Our legal and financial teams have taken on more work as our city continues to grow. Our Community Devel - opment Services organizations have grown with more building inspectors, code enforcement officers, planners and trail man- agement. • I am proud of our city coun- cilors who have supported our expansion of city infrastructure to stay ahead of the amazing growth we have experienced over the last six years. — We increased the road resur - facing budget from $800,000 in 2014 to $3.7 million in 2022. — We opened Fire Station No. 4 in July 2016 and new Station No. 3 in January 2022, replacing our former Station No. 3 built in 1987. We have increased the number of firefighters from 38 in 2015 to 61 in 2022. we have up - graded our fire equipment. The fire team took a leadership role in covid vaccinations for residents and other communities within northwest Arkansas. We have one final fire project funded by the bond — the fire training facility. The plan is to have this built and in operation in 2023. — Over the last seven years our commissioned police officers have increased from 22 in 2015 to 39 in 2022. A certified tactical force is in place as is our new motorcycle division. In 2016 we started our certified bicycle pa - trol unit for our 100-plus miles of trails. Our very first police station with courthouse is scheduled to be completed in December and up and running in early 2023. • State legislation was passed in 2017 enabling Bella Vista to have its own district court. Another first of which I am proud! • I am proud of the collabo - ration between the city and the Bella Vista Library Foundation with the new 6,480-square-foot addition bringing the total library square footage to 13,580. The new children's area is fabulous. The library has a new commu - nity room as well as quiet study rooms, a reading area and beau- tiful gardens thanks to many volunteer hours! • I am proud of the close pos- itive relationship with the Bella Vista Village Property Owners Association. Our largest project has been the creation of the hiking and biking trails. Trails have given Bella Vista a new amenity that has grown into a very popular destination for not only residents but for visitors far and wide. This has helped boost our economic development and property values. • I'm proud of our private/ public partnership with the Walton Family Foundation for the building of our soft surface and hard surface trails which has been completed at no cost to the taxpayers. • I'm proud of the city's finan - cial position. We have a strong balance sheet, all short-term debt has been discharged, our long-term debt is funded through a 1-cent sales tax and we have available funds of approximately $10 million of which 25% must always be kept in reserve per an ordinance I introduced in 2018 and was approved by City Council. Christie

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