Springdale receives feedback on street bond projects

by Jeff Della Rosa (JDellaRosa@nwabj.com) 181 views 

Springdale engineering director Brad Baldwin speaks to residents about proposed projects that would be paid for with a bond issue voters approved Feb. 13.

Nearly 75 people attended a meeting to provide feedback on street projects that would be paid for with a bond issue that Springdale voters approved with 84% of the vote. On Thursday (April 5), Springdale offered residents an opportunity to view maps of the proposed projects and took comments on them before the city narrows down the list.

On Feb. 13, voters approved the city to spend $92.7 million for street projects as part of a $224.7 million bond issue for city buildings, fire stations, parks and an animal shelter.

In the meeting, the city had 13 projects from which residents could choose as their top five. Also, residents could provide comments, such as suggesting projects that might not be on the list. Deadline to comment is 5 p.m. April 19. Click here for more information.

Before the vote, one of the projects expected to be completed with the bond money was the extension of Gene George Boulevard, between Bleaux Ave and County Line Road. The 2.44-mile project also would widen Elm Springs Road, between Gene George Boulevard and Oak Grove Road. The boulevard would be a four lanes with a median, and the project was expected to cost $28.6 million. It was the most expensive one on the list of projects with a total estimated cost of $104.1 million, which would exceed the amount of the bond issue.

Melissa Reeves, director of public relations for the city, said residents could select other projects they would like along with the proposed projects. After the comment period ends, the city council will have a committee meeting to go over the comments. The meeting has yet to be set, along with a timeline on when the street projects will be determined.

Not all the proposed street projects would be selected as the city has about $81 million to spend on street projects, after deducting the cost to issue the bonds and setting the sales tax revenue stream that will be used to repay the bonds. Before the special election for the bond issue, the city estimated the amount of sales tax it expected to generate to determine an amount for the street bond issue, said Wyman Morgan, director of finance and administration for the city. In the first quarter of 2018, sales tax revenue has risen 0.6% to $3.502 million, from the same period in 2017.

RESIDENT FEEDBACK
Officials from Springdale-based transit provider Ozark Regional Transit proposed street projects to accommodate public transit. Executive director Joel Gardner would like to see streets built with sidewalks and areas for buses to pull out, accommodating for bus stops.

Albert Newton, who lives on Oak Manor Circle is south Springdale, said he wanted to see Lakeview Drive resurfaced, between U.S. Highway 71B and Bogey Drive. Lakeview has become a route for motorists traveling from U.S. Highway 412 and Don Tyson Parkway to reach Highway 71, and is in need of repair, Newton said.

Pam Conner, who lives off 40th Street in western Springdale, supports the project to widen the street to three lanes with a center turn lane, between Falcon and Wagon Wheel roads. The 1.8-mile project was expected to cost $13.7 million. Kurt Kutz, who also lives off 40th Street, supported the project along with the three-lane access road, between where Gene George Boulevard would be extended and the Wagon Wheel interchange at Interstate 49. Federal grant funding is pending for the nearly 1-mile access road, which was expected to cost $6.5 million.

Charlie Platt, who lives on 64th Street in west Springdale, was concerned about the 1.43-mile project to widen the street to three lanes with a center turn lane, from Highway 412 to Dearing Road, which is where the extension of Don Tyson Parkway would intersect. Platt would like to see the completion of the Don Tyson Parkway extension, between Arkansas Highway 112 and Gene George Boulevard, before the 64th Street project.

Rondeel Harrison, who lives along 48th Street in southwest Springdale, wanted to see a traffic light and improvements at 64th Street and Highway 412 because making right turns onto the street is difficult and requires motorists to slow down to 10 mph, backing up traffic in a 50 mph speed zone.

Philip Taldo, a member of the Arkansas Highway Commission and a Springdale resident, said all the proposed projects were worthwhile but would place priority on projects that would lead to commercial development and provide the quickest return on investment for the city. His top choices included the Gene George Boulevard extension; Maple Avenue, between Holcomb and Park streets; Dixieland Road, between Apple Blossom and Wagon Wheel Road; and 40th Street.

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