#1 News Story: Eureka Springs voters renew Lake Leatherwood tax

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Citizens showed support for the Eureka

Springs Parks and Recreation Commission

on June 12 when they agreed

to renew a 0.125 percent tax for Lake

Leatherwood City Park.

In a special election, Eureka Springs

voters cast 107 votes (65.6 percent) to

renew the tax, compared with 56 votes

(34.36) against it. Parks director Justin

Huss said he’s happy that voters

renewed the tax, saying the tax passed

with a larger percentage than the first

special election establishing it four

years ago.

“It is a big relief and a great privilege,”

Huss said. “We like to think this

shows that people see what we’ve been

doing and are enjoying that.”

Along with other members

of the parks commission,

chairman Bill Featherstone

greeted voters outside

St. Elizabeth’s Parish

Center. Featherstone said he

saw about 100 people come

out to vote.

“They seemed pleased

with the turnout, but for me, that seems

kind of light,” Featherstone said.

Commissioner Ruth Hager said she

was confident in the way the commission

has spent the tax money over the

past four years, saying she hoped voters

felt the same way.

“We’ve proven we have done a good

job with this money, so there’s just not

reason to not allow it to continue,” Hager


Featherstone said the tax

costs the average household

$30 per year. Over the past

four years, he said, the commission

has raised almost

$500,000 from the tax and

has received $175,000 in

matching grant money.

“This costs everyone one penny for

every $8 they spend in town. It’s such a

small price,” Featherstone said. “What

a great deal to have access to Leatherwood

for such a penance amount of


With the money from the tax, Featherstone

said, the commission has improved

the road leading to Lake Leatherwood,

installed “the best playground

in Carroll County” and added new

campsites and tent pads.

“There are so many good things that

will come out of this. It’s going to allow

us to do some real, long-range planning

for Leatherwood, and thinking in a completely

different way than we’ve ever

been able to,” Featherstone said.

He said the commission plans to use

the tax money to work on some expensive,

long-term projects, including fixing

the dam, dredging the lake, updating

the septic system and building a new

bathhouse and pavilion.

“It’s going to do a lot of tangible,

great things and continue what we’ve

already put in place,” Featherstone said.

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