Mayor Lioneld Jordan’s third Town Hall Meeting of the year was held Monday night at Butterfield Trail Village in Fayetteville.
About 150 people, including many Butterfield Trail residents, attended the event to hear various department directors discuss what’s been happening in the city over the past few months.
David Jurgens – Utilities Director
David Jurgens gave a brief overview of the upcoming downtown parking deck.
Jurgens, who also serves as project manager for the planning of the deck, repeated several reasons why he still believes there’s still an immediate need for more parking in the Dickson Street area.
“When meeting with the Walton Arts Center board, they have one very, very firm message to the city and that is we need more parking now,” he said. “Not later, not in three years and not in five years.”
Plus, he said, the city faces a risk of increased construction costs if it were to delay the project any further. “Interest rates are about as low as they’re every going to be right now,” he said. “We know that the only direction they’re going to go is up.”
Peter Nierengarten – Director of Sustainability and Strategic Planning
Peter Nierengarten, Fayetteville’s recently hired sustainability and strategic planning director, outlined several projects his department is currently working on including a complete neighborhood plan for the Wedington Drive area west of Interstate 540, a statewide sustainability conference planned for October in Fayetteville and a continued push toward increasing the city’s waste diversion rate from 14 to 25 percent.
Nierengarten said staff and volunteers spent several days last week talking to residents in 667 households that don’t normally recycle to try and educate them on the benefits of waste diversion.
“Our guys that pick up the recycling in that neighborhood say that in just one week, they’re already seeing more bins out on the street,” said Nierengarten. “We’re really excited about that.”
Chris Brown – City Engineer
City Engineer Chris Brown went over various street and trail projects that are either underway or that are set to begin construction this year including widening of Cato Springs Road, a roundabout at North Hills Boulevard at Futrall Drive, and the upcoming Highway 71B Flyover which will connect northbound College Avenue traffic to the Fulbright Expressway.
For those unfamiliar, the flyover will virtually eliminate u-turns at Joyce Boulevard and College Avenue by allowing drivers to take a westbound ramp just north of the intersection at Millsap Road. From there, drivers may continue along the expressway or exit onto Mall Avenue next to Olive Garden restaurant.
Finally, Brown said an engineer will soon be hired to begin designing a renovation project at the two historic bridges on Lafayette and Maple streets in downtown Fayetteville. The 1930s-era bridges, which cross over the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad tracks between West and Arkansas avenues, will undergo a complete cosmetic overhaul.
The city has about $1 million in federal money to put towards the estimated $1.4 million project. Since the work is federally-funded, the design process could last as long as two years before construction begins, Brown said.
Matt Mihalevich – Trails Coordinator
Matt Mihalevich, the city’s trails coordinator, gave an update on the status of several projects including work at Lake Fayetteville Trail which will add one mile of concrete to the already paved 4.5-mile trail circling the lake.
The project, which will complete the paved loop, will leave the existing nature trails in tact and should be complete sometime in spring 2013.
Other projects mentioned include the recently completed Meadow Valley Trail, the Frisco Trail southern extension and the upcoming, 2.6-mile Clear Creek Trail which will connect Lake Fayetteville Trail to Mud Creek Trail.
Connie Edmonston – Parks & Recreation Director
Parks and Recreation director Connie Edmonston mentioned a handful of activities and programs now available for residents including soccer, adult kickball, youth wrestling and pickleball at the Yvonne Richardson Center.
Edmonston said this year’s Lights of the Ozarks runs from Saturday, Nov. 17 through the end of December. The annual event, which includes a kickoff parade, features over 350,000 holiday lights on the Fayetteville downtown square.
Several residents spoke during the public comment section of the meeting including Carl Koffler, a former Washington County justice of the peace. Koffler commended the city’s compost facility which sells compost to residents, but asked city staff to consider offering smaller sized amounts of compost – possibly sold in bags – for people who don’t have access to a truck.
The facility currently sells compost for $20 per scoop, which usually fills the bed of a regular sized pick-up truck.