Greenwood Sees Support For Shadow Lake Annexation

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<p>The Shadow Lake Estates community, seen Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, is under consideration for annexation into the city of Greenwood.</p>

Opinions differ on whether Greenwood should annex the Shadow Lake Estates community, but city officials say they’ve received support for the move.

“All that I have gotten from my people, as well as the phone calls from Shadow Lake, seem to be in favor of it,” Mayor Del Gabbard said. “I’m even thinking about trying to have them sign a petition to come in as opposed to putting it on the ballot.”

That move would save the city $12,000 in election costs, Gabbard said.

“There are that many people for it, I think,” he said. “That’s just my personal opinion. They still have at least one more meeting on it.”

The city’s Annexation Committee recently met to weigh the pros and cons of annexing not only Shadow Lake, but other areas north and west of the city. Annexation of Shadow Lake would extend Greenwood closer to the future Interstate 49.

“Shadow Lake is about 90 percent of that population,” committee chairman Robert McKinney said.

About 50 residents of the 130-home community attended the July 25 meeting.

“I’m very excited about the city’s growth,” Shadow Lake resident Charles Efurd said, “and would love to see the city expand to the northwest because I know Fort Smith is coming south.”

Not everyone agrees annexation is in the best interest of Shadow lake.

“I’m still inclined not to annex,” Shadow Lake resident David Taylor said. “I’m not radically disinclined, but I see no big advantage for us.”

If the Annexation Committee favors annexation, it will make that recommendation to the Planning Commission, which in turn would make its own recommendation to the City Council. If a potential voluntary petition is unsuccessful, a vote of both Greenwood and Shadow Lake residents would be required.

Meeting minutes from 1994 and 1995 indicate that Shadow Lake’s property owners’ association approached the city about annexation, then gathered enough signatures for a petition following one failed attempt.

“At one time, they approached us to come in to the city,” Planning Director Sonny Bell said. “It looks like it would be a great thing to bring that population in. Also, their water rates will go down. They’ll get better police and fire protection. Back when they were trying to come in, they were also talking about animal control issues. We can help with that.”

A renewed interest is part of a larger plan to explore annexation on all sides of Greenwood, which has a population of about 9,000.

“The committee is doing an excellent job in presenting information we need to know,” Efurd said. “I really was impressed with the amount of work these committee members have gathered up and presented in a way that eased the concerns of a large number of Shadow Lake citizens.”

The discussion is expected to continue during the Annexation Committee’s next monthly meeting, 6 p.m. Aug. 22 at City Hall.

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