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Members of the Arkadelphia Planning Commission approved preliminary plans for a retirement community being developed by a local builder after no one objected during a public hearing Thursday afternoon.

Billy Bunn of Bunn Builders presented plans for The Gardens, a planned unit development to be occupied by persons over 55. The unit will be constructed on land that connects 26th Street to Walnut Street.

“I think it’s a great, great concept and it’s something Arkadelphia needs,” Commissioner Gary Prather said.

The development will include single family homes and duplexes. The homes will be built by a Clark County builder from one of six available plans, which range in size from 1,110-1,600 square feet. Residents will be able to choose their own lots, house plan and builder, Bunn said.

The development will also include a community building for use by residents and their guests. An exercise pool will be located behind the community building, Bunn said.

The duplexes in the development will be owned by Bunn and leased to residents. One commissioner questioned Bunn about the lease process. “Are you going to keep them expensive enough to keep the right kind of residents?” Commissioner George Franks said.

Bunn replied that the units were being built for persons in the higher income brackets, and the apartments will likely rent for $1,200 to $1,500 per month.

The Gardens will also include several ponds to manage drainage. The drainage system will include several decorative dams to provide proper agitation of the water so that it will not become stagnant. “In dry weather, a pump will keep the water moving. In wet weather, gravity will take care of it,” Bunn said.

Several other services will be available to residents of the development, including lawn care, meal delivery and medical care, Bunn said.

Each home will even have an emergency generator to provide electricity in the event of a power outage. The homes will be heated with natural gas, Bunn said.

The entire development, including each home, will be fully handicapped-accessible, he said.

The commission asked Bunn to widen the street within the development by one foot and to install sidewalks as required by city ordinance. He agreed to the changes, and commissioners unanimously approved the plan. Commissioner Lawrence Phillips did not attend the meeting.

No one in the audience spoke against approval of the plan.