Mayor Lioneld Jordan held his first town hall meeting of the year Monday night at the Fayetteville Boys and Girls Club.
About 35 people attended the event to hear various department directors discuss what’s been happening in the city over the past few months.
Road and trail projects
Chris Brown, city engineer outlined several upcoming road and trail projects.
Brown said the College Avenue flyover bridge should be completed sometime this summer.
Crews have been waiting for warmer weather before pouring the final concrete deck, he said. If all goes well, placement of the deck could begin in early May.
Officials earlier this month celebrated the start of a one-mile widening and extension to Van Asche Drive between Garland and Gregg Avenues.
The $4.5 million construction contract was awarded to APAC-Central, Inc., and will be paid for with the third phase of the $65.9 million transportation bond program voters approved in 2006. Brown said the project should last about 15 months.
Brown said the city expects to roll out several miles of new trails this year, including the recently opened Clear Creek Trail that connects Scull Creek Trail to Lake Fayetteville. Other projects include a half-mile extension to Frisco Trail from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Walker Park, and the Tsa La Gi Trail that will run west from Frisco Trail to Razorback Road.
Paul Becker, city finance director, said sales tax collections have finally turned a corner this year after bad weather led to down months in January and February.
Becker said collections in March were up about 6 percent more than the same period last year, after being down 4.4 percent in January and 8.4 percent in February. Although collections are still down about 3 percent overall in 2014, the city’s budget projects sales tax growth of about 2 percent for the remainder of the year.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Becker. “But there’s a very, very good possibility we’ll catch up by the end of the year.”
Sidewalks and streets
Terry Gulley, the city’s transportation services director, outlined several sidewalk and street projects his department has planned for the year.
Gulley said residents can expect to see about six miles of new sidewalk built this year, and over eight miles of street repair and overlay projects completed across the city.
Major projects include building new sidewalks on East Dickson Street from Washington to Fletcher avenues; on Leverett Avenue from North to Cleveland streets; on Mission Boulevard from Viewpoint Drive to Cambridge Road; and on Palmer Avenue from Markham Road to Center Street.
Downtown parking deck
Jeremy Pate, the city’s development services director, provided a timeline update for the downtown parking deck which will soon be under construction on the southeast corner of the Walton Arts Center campus at Spring Street and School Avenue.
Pate said the city will solicit construction bids for the four-level, 250-space deck sometime in June. A contract will be awarded in July, he said, and if all goes well, the deck should be open by the end of 2015.
Police and fire departments
Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor told attendees about the department’s recent accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies – or CALEA – program.
Tabor said the department is one of about 1,000 law enforcement departments in North America to be accredited through the commission whose mission is to improve law enforcement service by creating a national body of standards developed by law enforcement professionals.
Fire Chief David Dayringer reminded those in attendance about the city’s recent upgrades to fire services that could lead to lower insurance premiums for residents.
The Insurance Services Office (ISO) recently changed the department’s Public Protection Classification rating from Class 4 to Class 2. The rating is the common standard most insurance companies use to establish fire insurance premiums.
Ratings are based on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being nearly no fire protection at all, and 1 being the best coverage possible.
Dayringer said the change goes into effect June 1, and that residents should contact their insurance providers to see if they’re eligible for a lower premium.
Parks and recreation
Connie Edmonston, the city’s parks and recreation director, said construction is set to begin later this year on the planned 200-acre regional park near the Cato Springs Road exit on Interstate 49 (formerly Interstate 540).
The first phase of the project will include at least six soccer fields, two baseball fields, a great lawn, a large pavilion, a playground, restrooms, and all infrastructure needed for access to the new park.
Future phases will include more baseball diamonds, softball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, and a concession stand. A disc golf course, a community amphitheater and some type of water feature – like a splash pad – could come in future phases.
Edmonston said the Wilson Park pool, which was recently renovated to include a new deck and office, will open Friday, June 6.
New city alert system
Don Marr, the mayor’s chief of staff, discussed the city’s new emergency alert system.
The Fayetteville Alert System lets residents sign up to receive information via phone calls, text messaging, and e-mail.
The address-based system sends notifications to residents and businesses with information specific to their neighborhoods, Marr said.
Aside from emergency weather alerts, the system will allow the city to notify residents about street closings, recent vehicle break-ins, and upcoming activities available through the parks department.