Courtesy graphic / Enlarge
Fayetteville voters will head to the polls on April 9 for a special election that would renew the city’s 1-cent sales tax that voters approved in 2006. Just like 12 years ago, the money would be used to pay for a list of proposed capital projects.
The 2006 bond program paid for a variety of projects, including the 71B flyover bridge, the widening of Garland Avenue, an extension of Van Asche Drive, and a series of improvements to North College Avenue.
The 2019 bond issue would generate about $226 million to be used for road, drainage, trail and park improvements; economic development; construction of a cultural arts corridor with potential new parking facilities; a new police headquarters; three new fire stations; various city facilities improvements; and refinancing outstanding sales tax bonds.
City staff have said the goal is to pay off the debt in 16 years, but it’s possible that the bonds could be paid off in 10-12 years with expected growth.
If approved, Fayetteville voters would join those in Springdale who passed an extension of that city’s 1-cent sales tax for almost $225 million in bonds, and voters in Rogers who passed a nearly $300 million bond referendum earlier this year.
Proposed 2019 Bond Referendum Projects
The following is a list of projects included in the proposed 2019 bond issue, as listed on the city’s website. These 10 items will appear as separate issues on the ballot.
1. Refinancing of the current outstanding sales tax bonds – not to exceed $12.2 million
This item would need to pass before any of the other items could pass because the previous bonds must first be paid off before new bonds can be issued.
2. Road Improvement Projects – not to exceed $73,925,000
Road improvement projects have been prioritized from public input during the Fayetteville Mobility Plan process and proposed through staff reports to the Transportation Committee. Transportation projects below include features, where appropriate, such as traffic capacity, sidewalk, transit, and bicycle facilities enhancements.
Improvements to the following corridors:
- Completion of the last missing segment of North Rupple Road for the “Mayor’s Box,” and improvements to other sections, including the intersection of Howard Nickell Road and Highway 112
- Zion Road from North Vantage Drive to North Crossover Road (Highway 265)
- North Porter Road, West Deane Street, and West Sycamore Street from I-49 to North College Avenue
- North Street and Mission Boulevard (Highway 45) from North Garland Avenue to Old Wire Road
- Improvements to Highway 71B, to implement the recommendations from the Highway 71B Corridor Plan currently in progress
- Maple Street Cycle Track construction through the UA campus
- West 15th Street and Razorback Road
- Millsap Road and North College Avenue
- Intersection signalization at four to five additional locations (to be determined)
Structural and system improvements to include:
- Hardware and software upgrades for the traffic signal network, to make it easier to respond to changing traffic conditions, and to connect to future connected vehicle technology
- Accelerated pavement overlay and pavement management programs
Pedestrian-focused improvements to include:
- Downtown area sidewalk improvements, to include additional lighting, wider sidewalks, removal of obstructions, improved street crossings, and other pedestrian improvements
- Transit stop amenities and safety upgrades
3. Trail Improvement Projects – not to exceed $6,865,000
As part of the city’s growing pedestrian and cycling network, trail and bicycle system improvements will include:
- Completion of the Tsa La Gi Trail
- Connections to Centennial Park via the Shiloh Trail and connections along Old Farmington Road
- Sublett Creek Trail: connecting areas near East North Street and Mission Boulevard, through Evelyn Hills Shopping Center area, to North College Avenue at East Poplar Street near Woodland Junior High School
- Extension of the St. Paul Trail to the proposed paddle park at Pump Station Road, across the West Fork of the White River, and connecting with neighborhoods east of the river
4. Drainage Improvement Projects – not to exceed $15,840,000
The drainage improvement plan was developed in 2018 after the major flooding event in April of 2017. Based on flooding that was reported across the city, over 100 projects ranging in size were identified. Some of the larger projects include:
- Little Missouri Creek area (near Old Missouri Road and Mud Creek Trail)
- Elmhurst Avenue and McClinton Street area
- Sunbridge Drive and North College Avenue area
- East Country Way Road and East Ferguson Avenue area
5. Park Improvement Projects – not to exceed $26,405,000
Bond projects for the Parks and Recreation Department will span the regional and community parks and add new features and land acquisition to include:
- Completion of the Kessler Mountain Regional Park baseball complex
- Acquisition of future park land to include a partnership with the Fayetteville Public Schools for purchase of Lewis Fields
- Improvements at Lake Fayetteville
- Camping amenities at Lake Sequoyah Park
- Enhancements to the Community Parks, including the Yvonne Richardson Community Center
- A paddle park on the West Fork of the White River
6. Economic Development Projects – not to exceed $3,170,000
A fund for land acquisition, site development, and infrastructure improvements to foster public/private partnerships to provide flexibility for recruiting businesses and to enhance Fayetteville’s incentive program.
7. City Facilities Improvements – not to exceed $3,170,000
A number of improvements to city buildings to improve energy efficiencies and air handling units would include:
- Remodeling of City Hall
- Renovation of the current police facility for other uses if a new facility is approved
- Renovation of Parks current facility
8. Construction of an Arts Corridor (including replacement parking) – not to exceed $31,685,000
The city calls this a multi-purpose investment in Fayetteville’s Downtown/Entertainment District, and says the Arts Corridor will bring cultural attractions and activate the outdoor environment in a 50-acre tract downtown. A number of destinations and preserved green spaces along the Razorback Greenway will create this civic space. Officials say the transformative project would create a tourist destination to bring people and new businesses to the center of town to generate tax revenues as an ongoing economic engine.
Some features include:
- Public art
- Enhanced pedestrian paths
- Gathering spaces that integrate the natural landscape with the urban
- Preserved ecosystems of streams and trees in the heart of downtown
- Parking Facilities
9. Police Facilities Improvements – not to exceed $36,965,000
A new headquarters building for the Fayetteville Police Department would include the purchase of land and construction costs for a 55,000-square foot building and related facilities.
10. Firefighting Facilities Improvements – not to exceed $15,840,000
The city has identified the need for three additional fire stations and apparatus to support ongoing growth for fire and emergency response. The money would pay for purchasing land, building new stations, and equipping the new facilities with vehicles and other equipment.