Questions about the large flagpole in the former Country Mart parking lot were raised during the Aug. 7 meeting of the City Commission of Arkansas City.

“I’ve had several people ask me about the old flagpole at Country Mart,” said Commissioner Duane Oestmann. “Has the city received any information from the owners?”

“No,” replied City Manager Nick Hernandez. The light that shines on the flag at night has been moved, he said, and the city has agreed to pay for the electricity to keep it shining, otherwise the flag would have had to come down.

But no word has been received yet from the property owners, who are not local.

“The other situation is, I don’t know if the owners of the property are going to be amenable to allowing us to keep that there or if it’s going to have to be removed,” Hernandez added. Initial conversations have indicated the flag will have to be moved.

“The second challenge is where to put it,” he said, adding he is working with L.G. Pike Construction, which installed the pole, on the problem.

The pole was installed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a memorial to honor the fallen and the U.S. armed forces in general.

Hernandez said the city would rather not have to move the flagpole, as it would be looking at spending $30,000 to $40,000 for the process.

“Can we buy that little corner?” Oestmann asked. “We’ve tried. They’ve been nonresponsive,” Hernandez said.

“So they haven’t sold the building?” asked Commissioner Kanyon Gingher.

“No, they haven’t even listed it,” Hernandez said. “There are plenty of businesses interested in property like that, especially on Summit Street.”

“I just hate to see (new owners) come in, or whoever buys it come in, and pull it out,” Oestmann said.

“I think that whoever buys it is going to leave it there, because it’s a show of goodwill,” Hernandez said.

“There’s nothing that says they can’t lease it to the city.”

The city would be able to maintain the flagpole and insure it, if the owners are amenable to the idea.

“I’d just hate to lose it,” Oestmann said. “We won’t lose it — we’ll move it. It will never be gone,” Hernandez said.

In other business, the commission:

  • unanimously approved the July 17 regular meeting and July 24 special meeting minutes as written.
  • voted 4-0 to approve a Traffic Safety Committee recommendation to place east-west traffic control devices at the intersections of Cedar Avenue and Third Street, Cedar Avenue and Fourth Street, Linden Avenue and Third Street, and Vine Avenue and Third Street.
  • unanimously authorized the city to enter into a contract with Sparks Music for the replacement of the Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department’s station alerting system, for an amount not to exceed $18,150.
  • approved the purchase of a 600-gallon Chaparral 5 brush fire truck from Blanchat Manufacturing, of Harper, for an amount not to exceed $141,102.

Mayor Dan Jurkovich was absent from the meeting because he is on vacation.